Here today, gone today. Chris Rock may have talking about late-’90s teen pop when he made that observation at an award show earlier this decade.
But it applies just as easily to rock music. In 2002, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a band that ripped off Television and the MC5. In 2004, that same rock hit bands ripping off Morrissey and Joy Division.
The Hives, by all conventional wisdom, should have been obsolete just as quickly as they became relevant.
Veni Vidi Vicious was a blast of an album, a behemoth crush of sturm und drang, straight from Sweden’s garage to God’s ears.
It was a fun diversion that fit well with the White Stripes’ blues revivalism and the Strokes’ 15-minutes of uninterest. They weren’t supposed to make a decent follow-up.
Yeah, well, fuck me.
Tyrannosaurus Hives is more than a decent follow-up. It’s every bit the compact energy of Veni Vidi Vicious filtered through a New Wave lens.
The robotic beats of “Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones” and the pulsing riff of “Love in Plaster” kill two birds with the proveribal one stone by ripping off both the MC5 and Kraftwerk.
“A Little More for You” starts off with a bouncy rhythm this side of “This Charming Man” but wisely shifts to a less bouncy chorus.
Tortured strings augment Howlin’ Pelle’s barely controlled vocals on “Diabolic Scheme”, something of an INXS track that INXS never had the balls to record.
But these ’80s flourishes, while obvious, don’t overpower Tyrannosaurus Hives. The band does a fine job of that on its own.
Don’t listen to “No Pun Intended” during rush hour traffic — it may induce road rage. “See Through Head” jack hammers with its simple rhythms, while “Dead Quote Olympics” has the dumbest chorus in the very best sense of the word.
Expectations for the Hives were pretty high after Veni Vidi Vicious stormed through America, and it didn’t help that protracted legal wrangling after the band signed a new label deal cut some of that momentum.
But the Hives prove resilient, bursting forth as viciously on Tyrannosaurus Hives as it did on its last album.
In short, these guys don’t disappoint.