The Hives

Everyone’s favourite Scandanavian garage band have previously passed me by, appearing mannered on the live stuff I saw on TV and failing to move me on disc. Something about this album has clicked and I’m happy to recommend doing the jerky dance to this one. The frantic energy of the first track, the demented Hey Mickey flash of the second (right down to the cheerleader screams at the end - look out Toni Basil) and the loopy rush of the third track had me in a puddle of sweat. It’s all double-speed and daft as a brush. Somehow brushed clean, it is devoid of the grime, grunt and sex of the bands that I guess they’d claim as their antecedents but functions as a great big athletic grin with a heart of pop exploding in an ice-cream firework factory. Yup – all dazzle, pace and fancy effects.

Notably, many of the fab early tracks are produced by Dennis “favourite food of Sweden” Herring. Pharrell Williams (what!?) adds a bass-line emphasis to a couple of tunes. The arch sixth track – A Stroll Along Hive Manor Corridors – is a blessed rest from breakneck speed and yelping, all the time knowing it’s going to resume any second. A couple of steadier tracks follow – one being a Pharrell disco stomper. It’s quite a mixture of stuff, this ‘un. Return The Favour is pure punk blast, barely more than 3 chords and a beat – insanely fun. And it’s more madness up to the final furiously energetic rush of Fall Is Just Something Grown-Ups Invented.

This is just fun. No great message, no sense of ‘art’, not a classic to treasure down the years and refer to. No; an album to slap on while you’re getting ready to go out on a Saturday night, a platter to play to get all hyped up and definitely not one to play close to bedtime – it’ll take you hours to calm down again. That’s it – it’s anti-ovaltine.

And… the CD shiny side is black. How cool is that?

Ross McGibbon