Today, The Hives have entered our sights with their fifth, self-produced album ‘Lex Hives’.
The Hives marked their return with a storming Jools Holland performance, (which you should probably check out) it seemed like the Swedish rockers had completely dropped off the face of the earth post-2008 and covertly managed to slip away from the music world completely. They’ve been pretty hush-hush about what they have been up to in their time away, but the important thing is that they’re back and here to stay!
Fortunately for us, The Hives return in 2012 sporting that timeless brand of garage-rock, this time with a top-hat stylistically placed upon it. I’m sure our readers will be pleased to hear that The Hives aren’t making the kind of comeback where you return playing a completely different genre of music and sport the accompanying image adjustment that comes along with it (too many examples to name) – the choice of direction for many bands who often take a long hiatus. But of course, even if a band reinvents themselves along with their image and the eventual result is not 100% to your taste, it’s still something new and unfamiliar to get excited about… AKA you likely end up listening to the album out of curiosity. So does that mean bands should always seek to change and experiment overtime? Allow me to put on my philosophical hat.
While this is commonly true, on the other hand it is also true that people hugely favour familiarity and often dislike change, especially when it comes to their favourite bands; people don’t want one of their long-term favourite bands to make a triumphant return playing a new brand of Ugandan-dubstep. Of course people will listen out of curiosity, but that doesn’t mean that they will listen to it again, or even buy it. So where does that leave The Hives and their instantly recognisable sound in all of this?
The Hives are one of those rare bands who can release an album which is extremely in-keeping with the sounds of their first album (even if it was released over 10 years ago) and still not have people complain about a lack in progress or risk having an outdated sound – of course people love familiarity, but only to a certain extent in most cases. I’ve grown out of many bands, but the sad fact is that mostly, their sound hasn’t grown up and progressed with their audience. With that being said, The Hives are one of those bands who have developed a formula which effectively allows them to stand completely still amongst the chaos of other bands desperately trying to maintain the attention of their fans; I have never really felt that The Hives have ever had to do this – they don’t need to persistently reinvent themselves to keep things fresh, neither do people lose interest on a fifth album which remains firmly in the same style as the very first. They’re a band who are confident in their formula and are probably all too aware that people who hunt solely for the latest and weirdest adaptations of music often have the attention spans of goldfish. The Hives play the long game and they’re not changing, nor do they need to change for anyone, anytime soon.