logo Y-Not Radio Listen Live iTunes facebook twitter mobile
Altrok Showcase w/ Sean Carolan

CD of The Week

Week of 8/14/23

    The Hives - The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons (Disques Hives)

    The Hives made their mark as the luminaries of the Swedish garage rock scene of the early ‘00s, breaking in America with their high-energy tunes and livewire performances. But it’s been over a decade since we had a record from the band, as numerous delays held up the arrival of new tunes. According to their somewhat-confusing lore, their new album The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons is the final work of their mysterious sixth member “Randy Fitzsimmons,” who passed away and left these songs for the Hives to record. (All of their songwriting has always been credited to the allegedly fictional “Randy Fitzsimmons.”)

    Time and the “loss” of a founding member have changed nothing about The Hives, who bring the same delightful bag of tricks to their sixth full-length release. The Death of… is still chock-full of brash hooks and cocky, braggadocios lyrics.

    The Hives’ whole vibe wouldn’t work without the delivery and charisma of frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist, who is the only person who can sell these songs with his timing and swagger. For example, the stomper “Rigor Mortis Radio” features a laugh-out-loud blow-off where Pelle sings, “I got your emails saying that you wanna meet/I got your emails yeah, delete, delete.”

    “The Bomb” is an energetic blast (pun intended) and the punky “Trapdoor Solution” gets in and out in just a minute… what is this, the new Rancid album? Actually, “Smoke & Mirrors” could very easily be covered by the Bay Area punk icons. You’ll have the “Like I said! Like I said!” hook of lead single “Bogus Operandi” in your head all day while “Countdown to Shutdown” uses the tried-and-tried rock songwriting trick of simply counting down.

    Horns bolster the swaggering “Stick Up” while the stomping and clapping “Crash Into the Weekend” finds Pelle barreling into a three-day party “to the sound of a gong” and “like the demon's most favorite son.” The eerie, accusatory “What Did I Ever Do To You?” bolsters their guitar rock with new wave keyboards and echoes. The Death of… wraps up with the demanding “Step Out of the Way,” as Pelle declares “Step out of the way I got some hell to raise!”

    The Hives thankfully will always be The Hives – they’ll go above and beyond to give you what you want from them: primal guitar riffs, shout-along boasts and absolute rock and roll fun. A formula that will outlive Randy Fitzsimmons and pretty much everyone else.
    Review by Joey O.

Y-Not Radio on MixCloud