The Hives Tyrannosaurus Hives

The Hives Tyrannosaurus Hives
More than anyone, the Hives seem to be aware that they constantly threaten to become novelties. Note the "Howlin’” epithet preceding front-man Pelle Almqvist’s unequivocally Swedish name. Note, too, the coordinated outfits, the theatrical self-aggrandisement ("America Loves the Hives”) and — my lord — the new album’s title and cover. One gets the feeling Marc Bolan is howling in his grave while the members of Kraftwerk chortle away on their bicycles. This mordant sense of humour, of course, is what separates the Hives from, say, Right Said Fred; they are one of the most fun bands in rock today, and their image and music attest to this. T-Hives doesn’t build on 2002's Veni Vidi Vicious so much as it maintains its course. The Stonesy first single "Walk Idiot Walk” is a puzzling selection given the wealth of terse punk yelp-alongs. Spastic knee-jerkers like "Two-Timing Touch and Broken Bones” and the bubble-gummy "A Little More for Little You” would make more commercial sense, despite the latter’s semblance to the Ramones’ "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World.” But straight-faced qualms like these are of little use against the Hives who possess the most powerful weapon against cynicism: a sense of humour.

I think that your sense of humour is your biggest asset. Do you try to incorporate it into your music? Guitarist Nicholaus Arson: In a way, I guess. We always try to have fun while we’re playing. It’s something that just came about. Sometimes some things are better said with irony and humour than they are by pouring your heart out.

I heard that you guys were trying to do more of a Kraftwerk-style album, but the new album sounds very appropriate to the Hives. Did you change your approach? No. We said that we’d play our guitars differently, maybe tune the drums differently, turn the knobs on the bass amp a bit differently. In the end, music is still just notes and pauses. But towards the end of the process we started to miss ourselves a bit more. We felt that we needed some of the energy back that we had before.

How did the idea for the matching outfits and dance moves come about? I guess it kind of came naturally. The dance moves are all talent, and the suits are all taste. (Polydor)