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CD Review: The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives

The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives (Interscope)
By Nate Buchik
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, August 9, 2004
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The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
4 out of 5 stars

I know you've been through this before. The White Stripes, The Strokes and maybe even The Vines. You thought they were the ones, your garage rock true loves.

But they all changed. The Stripes became critics' darlings and The Strokes have hipper places to be than in your stereo. And The Vines? They suck.

But the Hives are different. They won't leave you. They won't change. They've been playing the same songs for more than 10 years.

While other garage rockers evolve into something more commercial or more rofessional, The Hives have stayed true to their roots. On "Tyrannosaurus Hives," they prove that they're having more fun and kicking more ass than any other band on the planet.

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Like a chainsaw, they tear off 12 tracks and 34 minutes of distorted power chord lunacy. Each song is more intense than the last, giving you little time to catch your breath.

From the beginning, Howlin' Pelle Almqvist and his gang of rockers show the advantages of brevity. "Abra Cadaver" only lasts for a minute and a half, but like a good garage track, it gives the audience just enough of a taste of the melody that they want to hear it again.

The first single, "Walk Idiot Walk," might be the weakest track on the album, as it slowly stumbles through a forgettable chorus. It seems made for radio, and doesn't provide the breath of fresh air that "Hate To Say I Told You So" did a couple years ago.

The album's strongest tracks, "No Pun Intended" and "Missing Link," sound more like Cursive than The Stooges, providing four minutes of fast, smart punk.

Occasionally, the Hives stray from their formula, like on the Ramones-inspired "Love In Plaster." On "Diabolic Scheme," they slow it down and add strings, but avoid a ballad by adding sinister background vocals.

While the lyrics from foreign bands aren't always memorable, it's clear that The Hives' strategy is to just be strange. On "Dead Quote Olympics," Almqvist sings, "Can't make an omelette without breaking an egg/ And I can't make a headache if I don't aim at the head." Don't study the liner notes and you won't be disappointed. After about 10 spins, I only could remember a couple choruses.

Its easy to dismiss the Hives as a uniformed joke when they claim they're the best band in the universe in every magazine on the planet. But if you aren't put off by the hubris, you might come to wonder whether they're speaking the truth.

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