The Hives
Veni Vidi Vicious
Burning Heart Records
2000
A

the disk begins with six simple chords pounded out by a seemingly indifferentensemble. The last chord is held. Seconds pass and a lone guitar creaks out asimpler four-chord motif. The band joins in. ‘Had an atomic bore in 2004’ leadsinger Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist intones. Opener “The Hives Declare GuerreNucleaire” tears through a trite theme in punk rock, with a somewhat freshoutlook. So what if the bombs come down? Guess we’ll die. Its not like you canchange anything with a song. A minute and a half into the CD and we have beengifted with this honesty, as the bombs rain down on us all we can do is party.


And party they do. The Swedish quintet tears it up beyond all reason. Songslike “Die, All Right” continue the athletic tradition of the music. Lyrically,the song mines similar territory as the (International) Noise Conspiracy, thatsemi-enlightened political gratuity. ‘I say thank you Mr. CEO’, Pelle singsbefore launching into the refrain of ‘I filled my pockets, / Now I might as well– die!’. The Hives come off as more appropriate with their affectations, as themusic is wonderfully balanced, so is the lyrical content.


A bizarre addition to the album is “Find Another Girl”, a wafting, almostelectro-pop piece. The production is nice, allowing each instrument to make itsstatement. The lyrics are very straightforward, detailing a typical mourningperiod of a failed adolescent relationship. It is here that the Hives bizarregirl group influence shows through. Moog synthesizers and surprisingly calmguitars provide a backdrop for Almqvist’s bizarre crooning. ‘Find yourselfanother girl who will love you true true true’, the narrator’s mother imparts.


“Statecontrol” features call and response vocals that push the song into awonderful pop frenzy. “Main Offender” nurses an unlikely riff, ending up as abizarre post-modern pop song. “Outsmarted” further deals away with thepretensions typically ascribed to the art of punk, though falling victim to someof them in the end. “Supply And Demand” pushes the CD to a close, arena rockdrums and thin guitar lines allow for the lyrical analogy between business andromance.


‘Veni Vidi Vicious’ exists as a great document of human energy inpractice. In addition to being talented and enthusiastic musicians, the Hiveshave recognized their place in punk rock as well as its current state. Afterthe album’s brief 28 minutes have run their course, the Hives painted a greatpicture of what they are about. The Hives have left us wanting more.



Reviewed by: Tyler Martin
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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