An album full to the brim with enjoyable poke and laugh-at-yourself tracks that will...
Sonja D'Cruze 2007-10-19
Dressed in their trademark monochrome suits, The Hives have always fronted an image of distinction that some might say has overshadowed their musical worth. The Black And White Album shows off the Swedish quintet revelling in the chance to have fun with their guitars again, experimenting with other producers for the first time, and pulling together a collection of tracks, which easily makes for their strongest record yet.
All the showmanship is there on the immediate, aural explosion of "Tick Tick Boom", which goes back to the fun stuff of "Hate To Say I Told You So", when Hives were our new favourite band. The midas talents of guest hip hop producer Pharrell are all over the "T.H.E. H.I.V.E.S".
A genius slice of future funk that Prince would be proud of, with the band spelling out their name in an almost Hot Chip dead-pan patter. Falsetto frontman, Howlin’ Pele has got balls as he sings: 'You’re looking at black and white/ Seeing our name in lights… We rule the world, this is our world'.
"Giddy Up!" is part of the speedier second half of the record dominated by tracks produced by Dennis Herring, and takes the listener to a cheeky moment when only sex can do the talking, with the lines: 'Our only way to reconcile/ Is to get back in the saddle for a little ride/ Giddy up now!' Pete's irrisistable repetition gets lodged in your head, along with the kids toy sound effects. It’s then back to the speedy, energetic rock charged stuff of, "You Got It All… Wrong", about the inevitable dumping of a lover: 'We had a laugh, but it turned into a cough/We got along/but I wanna get off'.
The record also weaves pockets of otherworldly instrumentals in a playful faux-menacing soundtrack on "A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors" via old fairgrounds and a deserted house of horrors with the spooked synths of "Puppet On A String". What these interludes add to the mixture beats me, but it’s put the band out there; they’ve opened the realms of experimentation.
This album is full to the brim of enjoyable poke and laugh-at-yourself tracks that will get you singing along and are deftly executed, but when the music stops they are just not memorable enough. Guitarist Nicholaus Arson said: 'If The Beatles could make a White Album and Metallica could make a Black Album, there was only one band who could make a record twice as good as those two combined'.
I guess we’re still waiting then...?