The Hives - The Black and White Album (Cover Artwork)

The Hives

The Black and White Album (2007)


Love it or hate it, the "Garage" rock explosion of 2001 did change the face of mainstream music. Of the four leaders of this movement (the Strokes, White Stripes, the Hives and the Vines), Sweden's the Hives seem to be making the most interesting music. This holds true with their latest album, The Black and White Album.

The Hives definitely have a specific sound: pompous, punk-infused rock and roll. Luckily, this style doesn't limit them too much at all. Even dance numbers like the Pharrell-produced "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S." or the Addams Family-inspired "Puppet on a String" fit in perfectly to the generally rowdy Hives sound. Fans of the Hives' rowdier, punk fare won't be disappointed by Black and White in the least bit, however. Tracks like the body-jerking single "Tick Tick Boom" or the rocking "Return the Favor" (which is quite possibly the best song on the album) should inspire more than a few mosh pits in the future.

The most interesting tracks on the album are of a more pop-oriented sound. The driving "Won't Be long" sounds like what Bloc Party would sound like if they smiled in their promo photos. The hilarious "Giddy Up!" is an ode to make-up sex and could quite possibly become a dance floor favorite with it's near-disco beat.

Black and White comes to a close with the almost brooding "Bigger Hole to Fill." The song begins with an Interpol-esque bass line and goofy baritone vocals but quickly explodes into a Hives-worthy chorus.

After 14 tracks of Black and White, it is apparent that the Hives can master any genre they tackle. This, however, is also the only negative point regarding Black and White. While all the songs are wonderful and diverse, they do not feel like a cohesive album. Unlike 2003's Tyrannosaurus Hives, Black and White just seems like a collection of singles. Awesome singles, granted, but singles nonetheless. This may seem like a moot point to some, but to others, it can mean minus points.

If you've snubbed the Hives in the past because of their status as a "The" band, please open your eyes and ears, pull your thumb out of your butt and listen to this album.