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The Hives – Veni Vidi Vicious [Album Review]

March 21, 2012

Declare Guerre Nucleaire / Die, All Right! / A Get Together to Tear It Apart / Main Offender Outsmarted / Hate to Say I Told You So / Introduce the Metric System in Time / Find Another Girl / Statecontrol / Inspection Wise 1999 / Knock Knock / Supply and Demand

Twenty-eight minutes of high-octane punk ‘n’ roll. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less either. Again, it’s quite funny to witness how so many initial enthusiasts have turned into cynical naysayers, declaring the band’s never been more than a gimmick and run out of control. I  fell in love with this album just slightly later than its release date of 2000 and while my adoration has waned a bit, I still think the best moments on VVV are among the best punk of the past decade or so. Even without the costumes, colourful idiocy of vocalist Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, inane nicknames (Dr. Matt Destruction, Chris Dangerous, etc) and hilarious self-glorification, this album would be a huge kick under the butt. You wanna know why? Because they friggin’ ROCK, that’s why, and they rock HARD. Of course they haven’t invented anything, but like every good chef, they came up with a recipe that works, combining the ingredients like no one did it before. So, they nicked. So what? Do you really care when it’s translated into songs like “Die, All Right!,” “Outsmarted” and “Knock Knock,” furious blasts of mock-indignant teenage rebellion about facing “the man,” being a social misfit and a whole lotta nonsense? As long as a band can come up with songs like that, I don’t care how calculated they are, they can even develop marketing strategies for all I care and all i want to listen to. The whole nonsense about “Randy Fitzsimmons” – who gets all the songwriting credits and is supposed to be this enigmatic mystery man/manager, orchestrating the whole show behind the scene – is probably a load of nonsense – guitarist Nicholaus Arson, Amqvist’s brother, is supposed to be the main man – but at least they even keep on insisting on the truth of this in a caricature fashion. Naming sources of inspiration is about the easiest thing to do: basically you could say that about any high-energy performer/band with straightforward riffs might have been responsible for this band’s course, ranging from Little Richard to The Kinks, The Stooges, The Dickies and about every band in between that period. Almqvist’s “hyper Jagger”-shtick is another bonus: But hey, like I said, it doesn’t really matter, all the baloney can be taken with a pinch in the butt, as they’ve got the songs to back it up. I’ve never been a fan of their exotic cover of Butler & Mayfield’s “Find Another Girl,” but apart from that, it’s basically one furious blast (some speedy, some mid-tempo) after another. Just check out “A Get Together to Tear It Apart,” a song that’ll simply burn your eyebrows off, or “Main Offender,” which arguably has one of the few successful anthemic choruses in modern punk. There’s “Outsmarted” with its rumbling drums and furious stops, there’s the modern strut of album highlight “Hate to Say I Told You So” (with classic rock scream – or is that squeal? – around the 2:35-mark), and several other cuts that infuse the punk of, say, the New Bomb Turks with and extra dose of silliness, surf-guitars on speed, over the top backing vocals, ultra-tight musicianship and razorsharp guitar-tones, until the album ends on a high note with the start & stop of “Supply and Demand.” Veni Vidi Vicious didn’t save rock ‘n’ roll (as if it needed to be saved in the first place) and it certainly doesn’t impress in the diversity-department, but it’s damn effective if you take it for what it intends to be: a mindless rock ‘n’ roll party that gives the finger to self-obsessed complaint rock, turns the volume control to 11 instead and goes on a drinkin’, charmin’ and fightin’ binge dressed in black and white. They got class.


From → Album Review

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