Hives better than before with popish punk instrumentation

The Hives attract a ton of superlatives from people trying to describe them. Maybe that’s because they actually rock really hard. When something really, really rocks, it’s easy to loose all sense of proportion. That is what is so great about rocking hard- it’s transcendent.

However, the Hives are not the best band in the world. They’re a band that knows how to rock and are a blast to listen to. Their new album, “Tyrannosaurus Hives,” finds the Swedish quintet in even more vigorous form than they appeared on 2002’s then seemingly insurmountable “Veni Vidi Vicious.” On first blush, the new album seems to fall back on the band’s instrumental proficiency more than “Veni Vidi Vicious,” an album that went beyond the aggressiveness of punk into pop territory.

“Tyrannosaurus Hives” does have its share of pop hooks and memorable riffs underneath the bludgeoning instrumentation. “A Little More for Little You” is blessed with one of the Hives’ sweetest sing-along choruses, sounding fresh but oddly familiar.

The single “Walk Idiot Walk” is a corker, but like the Hives’ past singles, one can’t help but wonder how much the Hives benefit from being placed in the context of a top 40 countdown. Despite the purported garage revival of three or four years ago, the Hives still seem alien and distastefully novel in the spectrum of American pop. Happily, listeners of music can disregard such unproductive perspectives and enjoy the latest album from a great rock band.