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CD Reviews:  The Hives: Veni Vidi Vicious

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For at least the last few years rock fans have had to make do with unimaginative watered-down bands who seem to fall over themselves to replicate the latest boring hit. The Hives have come out of nowhere, Sweden actually, which is as good as nowhere as far as rock music is concerned, to rescue us from the mundane. Have no fear, though, these guys are the anti-Abba. It's a shame it has taken two years for Veni Vidi Vicious to get noticed in The States -- let's just blame insecure record companies for that oversight -- but better late than never. 

It must be said, there is nothing shatteringly original about this set of 12 rather short songs. It is loud, aggressive, guitar-driven punk for the most part, but don't be scared. This album is not just some unintelligible slam-dance soundtrack. The songs have enough intelligence and wit mixed in with the anger to satisfy the non-slammers in the crowd. In "Main Offender" and "Hate to Say I Told You So," this ablum has two very strong songs just begging for some attention. They throw in a slow weeper, "Find Another Girl," to give everyone a chance to catch their breath. Then fill the rest with the typical, though distinctive, angry-at-the-world, or at least disappointed-in-their-lot, punk rants perfect to blow off steam. After a few years where rock-n-roll seems to have lost its way, The Hives get back to the aggressive, sexy, defiant roots that the genre is supposed to be all about. 

Howlin' Pete Almqvist has all the Mick Jagger swagger and charisma you could hope for in a front man. He struts around flashing the familiar moves and poses that have been handed down by the best showmen in rock. The rest of the band all have suitably sinister names; Vigilante Carlstroem, Nicholaus Arson, Dr. Matt Destruction and Chris Dangerous, in homage to Sid Vicious, no doubt. You'd have no trouble imagining these guys jamming at a reinvigorated CBGB. 

The Hives aren't re-inventing the wheel so much as getting the wheels out of a rut and driving it back down a road long ignored by today's rock bands. At the very least they are filling a niche, but it goes further than that. Rock used to be more than weepy Brit-pop and some sound-alike metal bands. The Hives are a wake-up call for today's rock musicians to quit faffing about and get back to playing real rock-n-roll. How many more Korns and Yorns do we need anyway? It's the new bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes that are going to rescue rock from itself, and The Hives are the most exciting so far.

~Mike Barkacs : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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