The Hives – Walk Idiot Walk

‘Well, is it true what they say about it
You wanna do what I do and I doubt it
And then they tell you anything about it
Yeah, I know’


It takes guts to kick off your latest single with such outrageously meaningless lyrics, completely devoid of any literary merit. When you’ll be sharing CD space with the Dylans, the Morrisons, the Cohens, et al, it takes balls to say ‘fuck it! It’s just about the rock!’


Yep, there’s nothing even vaguely profound about The Hives’ latest, but the rock and the screaming and the ugh! more than make up for any ideological deficiency. This is a balls-to-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll bonanza, all distorted guitar stabs and surging bass. Lead screamer Howlin’ Pele Almqvis does justice to his moniker, growling and rippin’ up his vocal cords with the largely monotonic immediacy we heard on Your New Favourite Band. All the ingredients are here for an intensely fun and mind-fuckingly stupidly good time, and as a result, Walk Idiot Walk is the best thing we’ve heard from The Hives yet.


The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, The Rapture and all the other members of the now-ubiquitous ‘rock revolution’ rely largely on genuine musical merit, melodic skills and an understanding of content informing form. There’s an intellectualism and a knowingness to their work that means their output can be judged and enjoyed on numerous levels. The Hives evidently don’t have time for that kind of toss-off. They’re a pure distillation of everything fun about rock, and when they hit their stride, very few bands can deliver such incendiary good times. The Hives sound like the most fun, most dumb elements of the Stones, T-Rex, The Stooges, and whoever-the-fuck-else rolled in to one rampaging testament to the visceral immediacy of good rock. And while it ain’t brain surgery, it’s a pretty bloody good time.