The Black and White Album

Studio Album by released in 2007
The Black and White Album's tracklist:
Tick Tick Boom
Try It Again
You Got It All... Wrong
Well All Right!
Hey Little World
A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors
Won't Be Long
T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.
Return the Favour
Giddy Up!
Square One Here I Come
You Dress Up for Armageddon
Puppet on a String
Bigger Hole to Fill

The Black and White Album review

The Hives care about their image

At a first glance the self-promotion policy of Swedish indie-punk band The Hives may seem too swelling and bombastic, which actually may provoke not really positive reaction of the public. Isn't such a title as Your New Favorite Band which they chose for their first international best-hits compilation a reason for skeptical opinions? But the truth is that The Hives is a pretty solid band indeed so all the verbal pathos that surrounds their albums looks more as a nice attribute – harmless and playful. A quick leap of The Hives upon the world indie scene, which remains occupied by the British and American bands, speaks for itself. These guys know where they must go and how they are supposed to do it. Unlike their British and American colleagues The Hives are trying to care about band's image. Their serious approach to this question is palpable even despite that fact that this particular image is based on foolish jokes and grimaces. They all wear similar suites, they have a mystic songwriter Randy Fitzsimmons who is treated by many as a myth character, they are known for awkward but funny statements. And all these small things are carefully juxtapossed together as a one gnreral picture, which obviously plays a very important role for this band.

Producers of the highest echelons

But that's enough for the outward attributes. If you still feel willingness to estimate the band's efforts concerning their image you can simply visit their official cite – everything looks quite funny, informative and interesting. It is time to dwell upon the music. The band's new album is called The Black & White Album. If you heard The Hives before than you know that they play some sort of a garage rock and punk hybrid. And in this sense the new album doesn't stand as a surprise – stylistic tastes of the band remain the same. However, The Black & White Album shows itself to the best advantage in the sense of production work. Today The Hives work with the producers of the highest echelons. The lion's share of knob-twiddling labor was assumed by a modern rock bands expert Garret Lee (Bloc Party, Snow Patrol) and by Pharrell Williams – a man who stands behind the most popular Hip Hop and R&B hits. Nevertheless, such a team may seem not really impressive for indie rock lovers. What good can mainstream producer do for a true garage sound? Make it smooth and water down with pop beat? A questionable help, isn't it? But in reality there is no reason to worry - the result is worth-while indeed. The Hives wanted to make their best and it is worth admitting they succeeded.

True rock-n-roll spirit

All the apprehensions about new album vanish away after first seconds of the main single Tick Tick Boom. This rebellious punk anthem sounds simply great - two-chord riffing, edgy guitar overload, lots of backing vocals and non-transferable atmosphere of a friendly romp. In fact, this spirit of a true rock-n-roll presents almost on every song. Take You Got It All... Wrong for instanse. The air of the song is approximately the same, this is another example of how effective indie and punk rock hybrid may be. One of the best songs of the album is called Well Alright! The whole band shouts "Eah-eah-eah" and "Well Alright", everyone is having a good time, the singer fools around in front of his microphone and everything sounds really cheerful and addictive. However, there are few tracks that feature an undisguised influence of pop music. For example T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. sounds more like a dance song rather than a punk one but luckily it cannot prevent the band from having fun, the ironical mood of the musucians makes this track sufficiently memorable. The same reffers to Giddy Up either. But these songs stand rather as a respite from the basic theme. The overwhelming majority of the songs are simple but very attractive punk rock with a bright flavor of garage rock. The conclusion for The Black & White Album may be as folws: the album will suite to a very wide circle of listeners, anyone who takes an interest in garage rock and any of its incarnations is a potential admirer of this record. This is simply a great work. The Hives made a real rock-n-roll album intended for masses, which is a pretty rare thing nowadays.

Max Rodrigues (31.10.2007)
Rate review4.87
Total votes - 39


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