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Hives screech in songs

Aug. 23, 2004

By CARESSA LATTIMORE, copy desk chief

The Hives demand their audiences to love them. They have to; they're not very good.

But if nothing else, their new album, Tyrannosaurus Hives, shows their range. From classic rock to slow ballads and blues to pseudo-punk, the summer release covers a lot of musical territory.

Ironically, the band members are all in their mid-to-late 20s, but the CD is filled to the brim with enough teenage flippancy and hyperactivity to make anyone safely out of their teen years cringe.

While there are a few tracks where the Swedish band seems to calm down and play good music, for most of the CD, the screeching lyrics of front man "Howlin" Pelle Almqvist are too much to tolerate.

The first four tracks on the album are overwhelmingly similar. Each song has an upbeat, unbridled feel about it -- much like the uptight matching black and white suits they insist on wearing. But the band never quite breaks past the energy it builds upon.

"A Little More for Little You" sounds exactly like the end to a mediocre teen flick. The guy gets the girl after some mishap; the credits roll and track five plays.

"B is for Brutus" and "See Through Head" are quintessential classic rock, and at less than 2 minutes, "Missing Link" is one of the shortest tracks on Tyrannosaurus Hives.

Unfortunately, these nearly songs are addictive. Two hours after popping in the CD, it's likely the listener will still be singing along to The Hives' peppy choruses.

The album's- -- and the band's -- saving grace comes several tracks in.

By far the best songs on the album are "Diabolic Scheme" and "Love in Plaster." With lyrics like "I really thought that we had something more than just a violation of my imagination/I'm better off dead 'cause it was all in my head," "Love in Plaster" is a catchy, albeit sad, song about love gone wrong.

On "Diabolic Scheme," the band seems to show their musical growth since the release of Veni Vidi Vicious in 2002. The ballad's rich vocals and bluesy guitar riff demand to be play again and again.

After spending 18 months in the studio writing and recording the tracks for the album. The Hives came away with one that is great for anyone in need of an immediate energy boost without desiring much talent or creativity from the artist.

Touted as one of the best live bands ever to pick up a guitar and a microphone,

For the most part, the lyrics are shockingly simple and evoke little to no emotion from the listener. A band can't make a good album without having talent, and that could be the problem here.

As they say in "Dead Quote Olympics," "I can't make a headache if I don't aim at the head."

Looks like they were right on target.