The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives (Cover Artwork)

The Hives

Tyrannosaurus Hives (2004)


About two years ago, the alternative weekly in the East Bay ran a story about local up-and-comers the Pattern (if you don't remember them, you aren't the only one) and the burgeoning garage rock revival. A major label publicist interviewed in the story had this to say about the new movement, which she called "small-scale rock."

"Small-scale rock is the new ska."

While garage rock has far surpassed ska in longevity, some key similarities remain. Take the new Hives record, "Tyrannosaurus Hives." Like many a ska band, they wear suits, sport stupid faces on their albums, espouse the Bible according to Devo, and deliver lyrics devoid of meaning (this can be excused–they're Swedish, after all). However, they also supply a steady stream of upbeat pop goodness that manages to hold up for the entire album.

"Tyrannosaurus Hives" main fault is that its not as good as "Veni Vidi Vicious." The mid-tempo rock songs are well represented. The first single, "Walk Idiot Walk" is probably as good as "Hate to Say I Told You So" and the ironic ballad in the middle, "Diabolic Scheme," is wonderful. But none of the 12 tracks can match the sheer violence and energy of songs like "The Hives Introduce the Metric System in Time." The record feels like a whole lot of pressure from the powers that be to write a steady stream of radio ready singles choked the band's ability to relax and kick some ass.

"Tyrannosaurus Hives" is by no means an awful record. The Hives are still one of the best bands that gets played on national radio. But if you're searching for another balls-to-the-wall rock record, your money is probably better spent digging up some old New Bomb Turks albums.