Release Date: Nov 13, 2007
Record label: Interscope
As the cheeky title hints, the Swedish quintet are sticking to their sartorial code. Yet sonically they’ve tweaked their punk-pop vibe, even employing the hip-hop-flavored Pharrell Williams for one cut. Happily, that gambit — the danceable ”T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.” — pays off. For devotees of neo-Nuggets psychedelia, meanwhile, the stomp remains the same on the snap-happy ”You Dress Up for Armageddon” — and the explosive ”Tick Tick Boom” shows there’s ample vroom left on this garage-rock bus.
After fronting 2001's garage rock movement, these madcap Swedes were stuck in their own groove by 2004's underperforming Tyrannosaurus Hives. So, U2/arena rock producer Jacknife Lee and hip-hop knob twiddler Pharrell Williams have been roped in to give their Model T Ford retro rock a new sportier engine. However, while Williams brings a touch of funk Chic to T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S, and a forensic scientist may be able to detect hip-hop beats in self-produced Giddy Up, their fourth album otherwise concentrates on making their old formula sound shinier and leaner.
Time and time again, the Hives have shown that they can crank out consistent, and consistently fun, garage rock. The Black and White Album's title alludes to the band's strict formulas for everything from color codes to dress codes to cleverly structured dumb rock, yet this is the album where the Hives break away from their routine -- they add some gray to the mix. At this point in their career, it's understandable that they'd want to break out of the mold, at least occasionally, even if they are the experts at honed, toned garage-punk.
Review Summary: Pharrell and a church organ nearly destroy this solid rock'n'roll album. They almost got lost in the mix when they emerged in a wave of garage rock bands with the definite article stapled to the front of their names, but the fact that the working title for this record was The World's First Perfect Album is a timely reminder that, regardless of the music, the idea of The Hives is perfect. As far as influences go, they ticked the right boxes - The Stooges and The Rolling Stones, basically - while avoiding any notion that they might make anything other than really dumb rock'n'roll.
Review by Jeremy Goldmeier.
Despite uneven attempts to branch beyond their explosive pop-punk, the Hives' fourth full-length ultimately delivers the goods. Lesser bands would kill for just one number as charged and catchy as "Tick Tick Boom," but the impeccably dressed Swedish quintet boasts several. "Try It Again" is jet-propelled by a cheerleader-style chorus, while the Pharrell Williams-produced (non-Buddy Holly cover) "Well All Right!" swings like a mod progeny of Ray Davies and Paul Weller.