The Oil Slick: The Class Clowns Laugh Last
Don't look now, but there may be a winner for the longest-lasting modern garage rock band, and it's a bit of a shock. Apparently, things made in Sweden just last longer.
The Hives rode in on the same garage rock revival wave as The White Stripes, The Strokes and The Vines. However, unlike the other groups of the movement, The Hives never made the mistake of taking themselves too seriously.
From crediting all songwriting to a potentially made-up manager (Randy Fitzsimmons) to dressing alike and putting their roadies in ninja outfits, nothing about The Hives comes off as pretentious, an image many artists struggle with their entire careers (Hi, Strokes).
Forming way back in 1993, The Hives are the only group to have made it to see 2012 in one piece, as the band will premiere their self-released album (their fifth in all) Lex Hives on June 5. The album's first single, “Go Right Ahead,” has already been making the Internet rounds.
The group has stuck to a formula for success that hasn't proven wrong: Keep the songs short yet catchy as hell and play every live show like it's your last. Pairing this mindset with an incredible work ethic and a sense of humor has made The Hives one of the most respected and adored live acts around.
It remains to be seen how much The Hives have deviated from their successful formula, but the odds are that Lex Hives will have endearing and slightly skewed songs that still manage to turn the dial to 11.
Guitarist Chris Dangerous recently told Spin that The Hives early on were “convinced we were better than everyone else. And so when we became as popular as we did, it made complete sense to us."
If Lex Hives can deliver the goods, there will be few people inclined to argue with him.
John Grimley writes The Oil Slick blog for GuitarWorld.com.