Weekly Album #2: The Hives – The Black and White Album

Posted by Flo in Music, Weekly Album on March 7th, 2008.
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The Swedish band “The Hives” is one of the leading punk/garage rock bands. This is one of the reasons why I just can’t ignore their newest album, The Black And White Album. It’s their first album in three years since Tyrannosaurus Hives, and the music on this cd surprised me: it’s not the Hives as I know them.

The Black and White Album's album artSure enough, this album is made by the Hives. Just look at the title of the album: black and white. Next to the title, even the box art is all in black and white. Even the cd, which looks like an old vinyl record, is made black and white (yes, also the bottom is black!). So it looks like a 100% Hives album, but when you start listening to ths cd, you are gonna be surprised: the sound of the tracks is so different from their previous albums!

The first three tracks are just like you would expect from the Hives: up tempo, guitar based songs. But after that, the songs on the album seem to be a little different. The songs are slower than the music they’ve made before, and the guitar sound has totally changed (more distortion?). They’ve also added an intstrumental track to the album (A stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors), with a 60’s organ, but without electric guitars, which seemed quite weird to me for a punk band. The song "Puppet on a String" also has no guitars, but only piano and handclaps. It’s a change in the sound of this band, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. One of the better tracks on the album, T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S., has quite a disco sound: it’s slow, it’s a little bit groovy and it’s so different from the garage rock the band has produced till now, but it’s great.

As they give a track with a, in my opinion, totally not-hives sound the name of the band, it’s clear that the Hives want to demonstrate that they can make more types of music than just garage rock, and with this album they’ve proven that they can. Some of the best tracks on the album have this new Hives sound. On the other hand, it can be quite shocking if you’re addicted to their previous albums, although you will get used to the new sound if you play the cd a few times and you will eventually appreciate it.

The Black and White Album isn’t the best Hives album, and it’s also not bad, but it definitly is a change in the sort of music that this band makes. You have to decide for yourself, if you think if this is a good or a bad change, but I can say that the songs that they’ve produced with this new sound are well worth listening. Next to that, you should buy the cd, the album art is great.

As music says a lot more than words, you should try some tracks below, I’ve marked my favorites with an *.

Tracks on the UK special edition:
1. Tick Tick Boom *                                                   Listen | Lyrics
2. Try it Again *                                                          Listen | Lyrics
3. You Got it All…Wrong                                           Listen | Lyrics
4. Well All Right!                                                       Listen | Lyrics
5. Hey Little World                                                    Listen | Lyrics
6. A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors            Listen | instrumental
7. Won’t Be Long *                                                   Listen | Lyrics
8. T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. *                                                  Listen | Lyrics
9. Return The Favour                                              Listen | Lyrics
10. Giddy Up!                                                            Listen | Lyrics
11. Square One Here I Come *                             Listen | Lyrics
12. You Dress Up For Armageddon *                   Listen | Lyrics
13. Puppet on a String *                                            Listen | Lyrics
14. Bigger Hole to Fill                                               Listen | Lyrics
15. Fall Is Just Something Grown-ups Invented Listen | Lyrics

Note: Most of the links do not provide the music as it is on the cd, and are mostly live performances. The videos on youtube may be deleted, but I don’t have the time to check this and to refresh these links with working ones.




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