Picks and Pans Review: The Hives

updated 08/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Tyrannosaurus Hives
ROCK
CRITIC'S CHOICE

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After Sweden's the Hives stormed the States with their 2000 breakthrough Veni Vedi Vicious, they joined a swarm of garage buzz bands, including the Strokes, the White Stripes and the Vines. Four years later (a dinosaur's age in indie-rock circles), the boys return with Tyrannosaurus Hives and prove that they are far from being extinct. Indeed, this disc is more raucous fun than anything the Strokes/White Stripes/Vines have done lately. In a lean and loud 30 minutes, the Hives deliver blast after (short) blast of potent power punk like the infectious first single "Walk Idiot Walk," which, with its jagged guitars, rum bling bass line and lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist's primal wail, follows in the vein of their Veni hit "Hate to Say I Told You So." With names like Nicholaus Arson (Almqvist's brother, on guitar), Vigilante Carlstroem (guitar), Dr. Matt Destruction (bass) and Chris Dangerous (drums), the Hives clearly don't take them-selves too seriously, and they bring a healthy dose of humor to these 12 songs, which are all credited to the group's (possibly imaginary) Svengali, Randy Fitzsimmons. On the deliciously macabre "Abra Cadaver," Almqvist sings in mock horror, "They tried to stick a dead body inside of me." Later, on the fast-chugging thrasher "Dead Quote Olympics," they rip into a literary intellectual: "It doesn't mean it's good 'cause you found it at the library/ Yes they were smart but they are dead/ And you're repeating all that they said." Stinging indeed.

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