The Hives, Lex Hives (Deluxe Version)
Back out there, loving every minute of it
It’s been five long years since we last heard from The Hives, Sweden’s greatest garage-rock act, but on their largely fantastic fifth album, Lex Hives, the ornery quintet harness a vigor unheard since their solitary smash, 2000′s “Hate to Say I Told You So.” The Hives seem to believe the previous decade (along with their Neptunes collaborations and critical fall-from-grace) never happened. It’s a full-blown case of artistic amnesia. (Prognosis? Awesome.) But it does take awhile to shake off the cobwebs: At times (like on the brief, pointless “Come On!”), Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist and company seem to straddle the line between “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “I wanna be so dated,” kicking up a gleeful ruckus with little in the way of substance. But these are minor sins in the name of Big, Dumb, Distorted Fun. Those heartbroken by the White Stripes’ demise will scarf down the blaring “I Want More” like greasy comfort food; meanwhile, it’s impossible to resist the bluesy strut of “Go Right Ahead,” which gloriously lifts the riff to ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” and pawns it to your bruised eardrums with a wink and a toothless smile — like a back-alley crook with a stolen Rolex. The Hives: Back out there, loving every minute of it.