The Black And White Album
UG Team, on november 21, 2007 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The Hives are probably most well known for their antics onstage and eye-catching outfits, but their latest album actually offers original material that could survive even without seeing the Swedish band's lively stage shows. While The Hives have come to be associated with songs that revolve around gritty-sounding riffs that usually involve only a few chords, The Black And White Album veers from what you'd come to expect. Keyboards play as much of a role as guitar at times, and it's during those times that The Hives prove they are capable of more than just your run-of-the-mill garage rock tune.
The 4th studio album from The Hives gets off to a fairly familiar start, with the single Tick Tick Boom and Try It Again sounding a lot like the band's earlier hit Hate To Say I Told You So. They are definitely catchy tracks, but they're far from being the most original offerings on The Black And White Album. Both songs revolve around a few chords, and although they are fun listens and will likely be radio hits, they don't show a new side to The Hives. It's not until you get to about the 4th track that things start taking an unexpected turn, with everything from funk to a bit of rockabilly thrown into the mix.
N*E*R*D drummer/vocalist and producer Pharrell Williams lent his hand at producing the tracks Well All Right! and T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. -- 2 of the best tracks on the entire CD. It's hard to say how involved Williams was involved in the actual songwriting process, but there is a distinct difference in the sound to the tunes he was involved in. Well All Right has much more of a percussive element, while T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. is a funky little number that features vocalist Howlin' Pelle Almquist's falsetto skills. It's pretty unexpected to hear any sort of funk on a Hives album, but the band actually made the style work for them.
Keyboard pops up a lot more in the new material, and there is even an instrumental keyboard interlude called A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors about halfway through the record. It's an odd little number, but it works nicely as a transition piece. Another standout track is Giddy Up, which uses what sounds like a drumtrack to accompany Almquist's rapped vocals. Some fans of The Hives might be annoyed by the club-oriented vibe of Giddy Up, but it's a really nice change to the garage rock style. // 8
Lyrics: Although there's a fun quality to The Hives' songs, the band won't be known years down the line for its lyrics. In Tick Tick Boom Almquist sings, You know I've done it before; and I can do it some more; I've got my eye on the score; I'm gonna cut through the floor. It's a fairly typical track in terms of the lyrical content on The Black And White Album, so don't expect mind-blowing themes. Even with the fairly amateurish lyrics, The Hives put so much energy into every song that the words don't necessarily need to be the focus. // 6
Overall Impression: There are a lot more styles that The Hives explore on the new album, and to their credit, they do a nice job at all of them. While the band's fans will probably always want to hear at least a few garage-rock tracks on every record, the band should continue to pursue songs that rely on more than just a few chords along the way. Although some songs feel a bit more dance-oriented than their usual rock fare, they are still a step forward in terms of songwriting and originality. In the long run, that is exactly what will keep audiences interested in The Hives. // 8
The Black And White Album
Bozjoarmstrong, on november 21, 2007 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Having heard the first song off this album, 'Tick Tick Boom' I thought I could have been in for a real treat. To be entirely honest I was quite dissapointed. Despite their stereoptype of bouncy riffs and shouty lyrics, The Hives have experimented with their sound on this record. There are still songs you can jump around to, but some such as 'T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S' and 'A stroll through Hive Manor Corridors' are just incredibly boring. If the only Hives songs you are familiar with are 'Hate to say I told you so' and 'Walk Idiot Walk' you'll find some things quite different in here. Some of the better songs such as the superb 'Tick Tick Boom' and 'Return the Favour' make up for some of the lesser tracks, but some of these can get repetative and sound the same. // 7
Lyrics: Obviously The Hives are known for their chanty, loud vocals and this is evident in 'The Black And White Album'.There is also unsurprisingly a lot A lot of 'Yehs', 'Woos' and 'Heys'. Some of the lyrics are difficult to understand and their is very little story to pretty much all of these songs. But you do have to give credit to Howlin' Pelle Almqvist for his dynamic voice and the rest of the band also provide excellent backing vocals. // 8
Overall Impression: This is the only album by The Hives I own so I cannot really compare it with any others, but despite not being a hugely prominent act they compare well with most other garage/rock acts out there. The best songs from the album are 'Tick Tick Boom', 'Try It Again', 'Return The Favour' and the insanely catchy 'Puppet On A String' which will stick in your head for days. I really like the general happy feel of the album but I can see very few of these songs being successful singles. I probably would not buy this album again, but I would be pretty pissed if someone stole it. I would actually rate this 7+1/2 but I'll round it up to 8. // 8
The Black And White Album
amhswildcats, on november 21, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: I'm a big hives fan so I went and listened to the new album as soon as I could. I was surprised when I heard it the first time cause of how much different it sounded from all of their other stuff. I hated it at first but when they came into town for a concert I gave the black and white album another chance. It started growing on me and now I'm glad that they took a new approach. I'm so tired of bands putting out the same stuff over and over trying to keep the same sound, so it's nice to see that somebody other than the white stripes can change it up every once in awhile without sounding bad. They still have the energy in all of the songs but they aren't as fast-paced. They're still pretty fast, they're just not on as much speed as they were before. There's a lot more bass and drums, and a couple songs like: well alright, try it again, and puppet on a string sound almost like showtunes that you'd hear off broadway. Also I don't know what the hell's up with giddy up! But I like it. Just overall it's definitely a different sounding album than their others and you can tell that it was produced by a guy that normally does rap. it's not bad at all, it's just something that you have to get used to if you've listened to them for a while. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics are good as always. Howlin pelle sings a little more on this album and screams a little less. The only one I had any problems with was try it again. I liked the guitars on it but, I don't know. The fact that there was like a whole bunch of kids doing like a playground chant in the background kind of ruined it for me. Other than that, and the fact that a couple of them sounded like show tunes, they were great. // 8
Overall Impression: It's going to be pretty hard for anyone to complain about the hives just ripping off the stooges and mc5 after listening to this. I thought after I listened to it a couple times that it sounded pretty damn good but I could see where some people might be disappointed. Maybe I'm just too loyal, I don't know. But I would recommend this album to anyone. It still rocks hard and kicks some ass, just in a different way. The songs that stood out most to me were: tick tick boom, you got it all wrong, won't be long, you dress up for armageddon, and bigger hole to fill. If it were lost or stolen I'd probably get it again. // 8
The Black And White Album
a.master.3000, on november 21, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: This time around the Hives have changed their sound a little with songs such as T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. and Giddy Up! which actually takes some getting used to, but as for the rest of the tracks, they are very much like the bnad's original sound. I was also worried about the fact that they were producing with Pharell Williams, but the song Well All Right! is actually really good and is probably one of my favorites on the album. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics in the album are for the most part really good. On Square One Here I Come, the lyrics especially stood out to me and it's also a very catchy tune. Howlin' Pelle also doesn't do as much "howlin" in this album, but overall I think his voice sounds really good. I also like the personality that he gives to the band on songs like Well All Right! by adding his comments every now and again throughout the song. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall this album is really good, has some instant classics, Tick Tick Boom, Try It Again, You Got It All... Wrong, and a lot more. I would say that aside from a few of the tracks it compares to some of their best work such as Veni Vidi Vicious. If this album were stolen, I would definitely have to go and buy another copy, or maybe just download the tracks off the web, hehe. // 10