The Hives

Record Reviews

Phases and Stages

The Hives

Veni Vidi Vicious (Sire/Burning Heart/Epitaph) The amalgam of labels behind this troupe's second LP tells the tale of the music within. Sire released music by the Ramones, arguably the most influential punk rock outfit; Burning Heart is the Swedish independent imprint that first took a chance on the Hives; and Epitaph is known for their raw and oftentimes loud titles. As on their debut, Barely Legal, this hard-rockin' fivepiece merges polish (appearing in matching dapper black and white outfits) and chaos with short, sharp, bursts of Euro-punk. The Hives may be from Sweden, possessing a Northern European sense of style and self-mocking aggrandizement, but this their nom de guerre, and vocals are in English, emulating the hypothetical bridge between early incarnations of the Beatles and the Clash. On Veni Vidi Vicious, the band plays like rascals on their way to jail, with the prospect of conjugal visits depending on the music's extroverted energy, "Outsmarted" and "A Get Together to Tear it Apart" being case in point. While guitar-driven overall, the howlin' singer sometimes provides propulsion, as on "Supply and Demand," where you can nearly hear spit hitting the microphone. With Aussie pop star Kylie Minogue riding a mechanical bull in her skivvies to the sounds of "Main Offender" in a British telly ad for lingerie, it's a safe bet you'll be hearing from the Hives more in the future.

*** .5

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