Hives
"The Black And White Album"

(A&M 2007)Hives - The Black And White Album

Perhaps the most unavoidable pitfall for any band is making the same album over and over. And while there are plenty of bands that have made careers out of recycling their own sound -- we won't name names; that wouldn't be nice -- it really isn't the most fun or enjoyable for fans. Who really wants to buy the same album over and over? Something makes me think that The Hives' Pelle Almqvist knew that this observation would be mentioned with respect to his band's newest album, "The Black And White Album." "They say the definition of madness is doing the same thing twice," he remarks on "Try It Again."

Lead off tracks like "Try It Again" and "Tick Tick Boom" are infectiously catchy, energetic garage rock tracks that quickly get the party started without a second of hesitation. A tinny disco beat puts a modern pop spin on "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S" while bringing to mind Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" as the macabre castanet clicking and piano plinking "Puppet On A String" raises some curious eyebrows.

While The Hives might start out "The Black And White Album" with a frantic rock sound that is large as it is fun, the album makes a slight change in direction. Just the mere fact that Pharrell Williams made an appearance producing two tracks should send up a red flag. The thing about The Hives is they never take themselves too seriously. And the result with "The Black And White Album" is that is bounds by with wide, quick strides while still throwing a little skip into its step, and yours, from time to time. But every time The Hives trip, they just keep going with their heads held high.

B-

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