The Hives

The Black and White Album | A+M/Octone
By WILL SPITZ  |  November 19, 2007
2.0 2.0 Stars
Call me crazy, but I consider Tyrannosaurus Hives — the Hives’ 2004 follow-up to their breakthrough album, Veni Vidi Vicious — to be one of the best punk-rock albums of all time, right up there with The Ramones, The Clash, Never Mind the Bollocks. . . , and Dookie. It’s a concise, smart, funny, ferocious album recorded by five childhood chums at the height of their powers, no matter what Jimmy Iovine tells you. Well, you can file The Black and White Album under “disappointment.” With a few notable exceptions (“Square One Here I Come,” “Bigger Hole To Fill”), the band’s apparent desperation to invent the best rock riffs you’ve ever heard — the main reason VVV and T. Hives were so addictive — has been replaced by a desperation to write songs that sound good in sneaker commercials and extreme-skiing movies. Couple those relatively rote exercises in get-pumped anthem making with tepid forays into disco (the Pharrell Williams–produced “T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.,” “Giddy Up”) and filler material — at 45 minutes, Black and White is a quarter of an hour longer than each of its predecessors — and you’ve got one bummer of a follow-up.
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