Music News

The Hives

Plenty of bands have used shtick to make a name for themselves, but only the good ones last after the novelty wears off — which explains why the Hives are still around six years after they broke out in the States. The players, led by Howlin' Pelle Almqvist (the subject of a Q&A accessible at blogs.westword.com/backbeat) turned heads early on with their matching suits, persistent mugging and stage bravado, yet the raucous, witty material on 2002's Veni Vidi Vicious boasted real (and raw) staying power. Since then, sales have diminished, leading the boys to tinker with the formula; The Black and White Album, their latest CD, includes contributions from producers such as the Neptunes' Pharrell and Jacknife Lee, a high-rent remixer. Fortunately, the disc still overflows with the outfit's trademark big beats, jumpy chording, giant hooks and infectious babbling. The results make the Hives, currently touring with the Donnas, a pleasure that induces no guilt whatsoever.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts