The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Hives

Tyrannosaurus Hives (2004)


It's been a long time coming but Tyrannosaurus Hives was worth it. The Hives' first release proper full length in nearly four years couldn't be more to the point as it slams through 12 tracks in a half hour, but those 12 tracks easily let the record live up to the might its title boasts. The band is still charmingly and consciously self absorbed but with this effort (like it's predecessor) that bravado, however tongue-in-cheek, is warranted.

"Walk Idiot Walk" blatantly lifts from The Who's "I Can't Explain" but as a single it couldn't be more perfect. It's perhaps the band's best example of their heart-in-the-60s / head-in-the-70s songwriting (particularly evident on video where Howlin' Pelle Almqvist claims Sir Mick's swaggering chicken-walk for his own). The fact that this band can put out singles that simultaneously ape the Rolling Stones, The Stooges, Buzzcocks and The Who and yet sound distinctly "Hives" is a feat in itself. Almqvist is the real star of the record, as he proves himself one of the most distinctive rock frontmen today. While he never really leaves the "excited-shout" range his voice has unmistakable character and his lyrical delivery is absolutely top notch throughout the entire record.

"A Little More For Little You" matches up an incredibly infectious pop chorus with jittering verses to create a one of the record's high points. It's followed by the simply phenomenal "B Is for Brutus." The band chugs along in a rhythmically propelled tune while the lead guitar, distorted and buzzing like a severely ill tempered hornet, churns out an instantly memorable and completely sinister sounding riff. "Diabolic Scheme" is a curious track and unlike anything The Hives have done before. A string section screeches and jumps behind the band's pulsing guitar (or is it a synth? It's hard to tell at times). The song's like a warped new-wave version of the violin murder-theme from Psycho (and yet also features one of the band's more interesting and chaotic guitar solos). "Dead Quote Olympics" is a surprisingly fun bit of light hearted jangling pop in a collection of it that would make Pete Shelley proud.

Tyrannosaurus Hives is a good summer record, just shy of truly great. The majority of it's tracks are holding pattern with Veni Vidi Vicious (which is a high standard in itself) but on a few tantalizing songs ("Brutus" and "Diabolic" in particular) gleams of brilliance shine through. One only hopes that it's not another four years until the next chapter.