Swedish gritty garage rock/punk outfit The Hives release their first new album in more than a decade, The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons, via Fuga. The title refers to the band's fictional founder, mentor, and songwriter, Randy Fitzsimmons, who famously eschewed attention.
Talking about the album, frontman Howlin' Pelle says, "There's no maturity or anything like that bullshit because who the fuck wants mature rock'n'roll?"
Produced by Swedish pop producer Patrik Berger, The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons comprises a dozen tracks, with the best tracks residing upfront, i.e., "Bogus Operandi," "Trapdoor Solution," and "Countdown to Shutdown." That being said, the rest of the album offers some ferocious zingers, like "Stick Up," "Crash into the Weekend," and the fiercely exciting "The Bomb."
The feedback intro to "Bogus Operandi" sets the sonic stage. Snarling, growling guitars give the tune a raw edge, while Howlin' Pelle Almqvist's vocals infuse the lyrics with deliciously grimacing tones, making no pretence of stoic resignation. Instead, he lets his emotions out with unyielding passion.
Drenched in high-octane punk flavours, "Trapdoor Solution" pushes forth with tornado-like energy. Whereas "Countdown to Shutdown" features a grimy, vibrating bassline, crunching percussion, and boisterous, surging guitars devoid of sophistication. Just pure, unadulterated belligerence.
"I dug a hole I made a lid / And I'm excited like a little kid / It's like a door but in the floor / Trapdoor solution."
Other entry points include the retro swing flow of "Stick Up," a song marinated in the '50s juices of the New York Dolls. A personal favourite because of its propelling rhythm, "Smoke & Mirrors" rides a rhythm reminiscent of The Killers as thick guitars gnash out a wall-of-sound atmosphere suggesting The Bobby Fuller Four. "The Bomb," a stripped-down rattler, sizzles with unadorned visceral guitars travelling on a skinned and bleeding rhythm that thumps and throbs with uncooked cadence.
"Step Out Of The Way" ties the album off with blistering panache – a thrumming rhythm capped by layers of crushing, relentless guitars and raggedy, rasping vocals. "Monday is my fun day since I was a little child / Tuesday is like Monday, I'm a go a little wild / Wednesday's got my motto, Gotta get out out just to get ahead / Fresh out of the grotto. It's a party with the living dead!"
The Hives are back! The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons sees the band returning to what they do best – pumping out primal oomph!