The black and white album
There's been a lot of talk about which producers The Hives have worked with for "The Black and White Album", their fourth album in ten years. It's been Pharrell this, Modest Mouse producer that, and so on. All this talk and the fact that their last album was a bit "meh", really put me off the album, especially the thought of not-so-very-good-in-the-last-few-years Pharrell being involved just felt so like such a tired and uninspired way to achieve something new. I was pretty much set on not liking this offering from the Fagersta boys, and I didn't look forward to hearing it at all (the first single of the album – "Tick tick boom" did nothing for me either), so I was greatly pleased to discover that The Hives have actually made a quite decent record. They haven't started playing rap-metal, or changed their sound drastically, but they have certainly taken on board some new ideas, which I think most of the time work in their favour. The track that stands out from the rest is the Pharrell produced "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S." which doesn't sound like The Hives at all, but more like Kraftwerk doing disco. A lot of people don't seem to like this particular song, but I really dig it! For the rest, it's the usual flavour of The Hives and there are some great tracks (eg. "You dress up for armageddon" – it sounds like Randy at their best) and some less so ("Puppet on a string" - very annoying), but at the same time it's much better and interesting than a lot of similar sounding bands and definitely a step forward. After being a fan for 10 years, it's nice to hear that The Hives are still able to come up with some smashing tunes and make me want to go and see them and maybe do a little jig, and have a beer or two.
- Simon Tagestam