Follow Us on Twitter

The Hives - The Black & White Album

The Hives, The Black and White Album

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

IT’S been a while but Sweden’s favourite band The Hives finally return with their keenly-anticipated follow-up to 2004’s Tyrannosaurus Hives in the form of the upbeat The Black & White Album.

Spearheaded by the explosive single Tick Tick Boom, which is every bit as incendiary a piece of rock ‘n’ roll as its name suggests, the new long-player is a fast, furious and utterly loud composition that mostly exhilarates.

The album marks the first time the band have ventured out of their homeland to record tracks, and was assembled all over the world because – in the words of the band themselves – “we thought it was time to have other people involved besides ourselves and our closest friends”.

Hence, after initial recording at Hive Manor, in Sweden, the band recorded the majority of the LP in Mississippi with producer Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello).

They also met with Pharrell Williams in Miami and “made some music with him too” (namely T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S and Well Allright!), before spending a week in London at the historic Olympic studios with Jacknife Lee (U2, Bloc Party, Editors) and then returning to Sweden.

The globe-trotting appears to have served the album well – especially in breaking up the traditional hyperactive Hives sound. A couple of tracks stand out by being different and almost surreal.

T.H.I.E.V.E.S., for instance, wears the Pharrell influence on its sleeve, emerging as a genuinely funky cut that’s more bass-heavy than most and even soulful in places. It marks a refreshing change of pace from the hard rocking and you’ll be singing along before you know it!

The surreal touches come courtesy of A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors, an instrumental that’s almost child-like in its delivery, and which could just as easily provide the welcome music for a visit to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (or something of its sort), and the Danny Elfman-esque Puppet On A String.

Fortunately, such transgressions are in short supply and the emphasis remains mostly on foot-to-the-pedal rock. Tick Tick Boom sets the standard in spectacularly thrilling fashion, Try It Again goes and underlines it with some thumping percussion and You Got It All… Wrong is a screaming, wailing, head-banging pop-rock blast.

The hand-clap beats fly thick and fast on another high octane favourite, Hey Little World, while Square One Here I Come is a no-nonsense foot-stomper of thrilling intensity.

And Bigger Hole To Fill and Fall Is Just Something Grown-Ups Invented round things off in style.

All in all, then, a very welcome return that pretty much does everything a good Hives album should – pumps you up, rocks you out and leaves you utterly breathless…

Download picks: Tick Tick Boom, Try It Again, You Got It All… Wrong, T.H.I.E.V.E.S, Square One Here I Come

Track listing:

  1. Tick Tick Boom
  2. Try It Again
  3. You Got It All…Wrong
  4. Well Allright!
  5. Hey Little World
  6. A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors
  7. It Won’t Be Long
  8. T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.
  9. Return The Favour
  10. Giddy Up
  11. Square One Here I Come
  12. You Dress Up For Armageddon
  13. Puppet On A String
  14. Bigger Hole To Fill