The Black and White Album (A&M / Octane)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Jan. 25, 2008
The HivesThe Black and White Album (A&M/Octane)
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. The album stumbles on "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.," a dance-oriented contrivance that sounds like a N.E.R.D. outtake, but the unabashed teeth-rotting silliness of "Giddy Up!" is at least as amusing as a high school pep rally skit. With that out of its system, the Hives get back to work on "Square One Here I Come," a dynamic lament on the rat race. Even when they misfire, the next hook is only seconds away.