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The Hives “Veni Vidi Vicious”

Best Rock Album

The following was originally published in our Collective section under the Raw Rock Revival Special. 

Review by Keavin Wiggins
One night late last year, I was standing outside the Cat Club in Hollywood smoking a cigarette and as often happens when you’ve had a few beers and are in a festive mood, standing around killing time waiting for the headlining band to come on, you strike up a conversation with the closest total stranger. Turns out the person I began speaking with was in town on holiday from Sweden. I can’t recall his name, but I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. 

I’m always interested in music scenes from around the world, what’s hot at a local level in hopes of catching on early to the “next big thing”. So I asked my new found drinking buddy what the Swedish music scene was like and he said, “Oh, you are thinking ABBA, right! We will never live that down!” I laughed and said, “No, it’s not like that.” I explained that in fact the CD we just a few days earlier proclaimed album of the year came from a band from Stockholm called Prime STH. He said he had never heard of them, I told him not to feel bad, practically no one in the US has either! Then his face lit up as he started to explain that the best band in Sweden that he was into was called “The Hives”.  I remembered hearing the name before but had never heard their music. He became even more animated and started to proclaim that The Hives were going to be “HUGE!” 

Intrigued, I asked them what kind of music they play and he said, “dirty power-pop” sort of like the New York Dolls or Iggy Pop. I automatically thought of The Strokes who were beginning to get buzzed about at that time. I asked him if they were similar to the Stokes and he replied, “Yeah, but a lot better and more raw!” At about that moment the headlining band struck their first chord, so we ended our conversation and went inside but I didn’t forget the conversation and made a mental note to myself to be sure and checkout The Hives. 

Here we are several months later and it turns out my drunken friend may have been right. The Hives weren’t a new band at all; they have been around for almost ten years and had already released a few albums and EP’s. But it wasn’t until earlier this year that they landed the opportunity to take things to the next level with a major label deal. Maybe it was the buzz and initial success of the Strokes that caused Warner Brothers to offer The Hives a deal? That’s not important, what is important is the fact that with WB behind them they were able to break into the mainstream consciousness. Unlike their fellow Swedish rockers The International Noise Conspiracy and The Hellacopters, The Hives were offered the chance to breakout from the underground. Critical praise is great and all but selling lots of records is better! 

....

We now come full circle. At the moment the band my drunken friend proclaimed would be the ”next big thing” are starting to see some success in America. With the power and promotional muscle of Warner Brothers behind them The Hives are currently making a slash in the US and turning heads with the major label re-release of their 2000 album, “Veni Vidi Vicious”.

Like the White Stripes, The Hives borrow liberally from “The Stooges” making their music more “punk” than any of the other “raw rock” revival bands and easily the heaviest in the bunch. 

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