THE HIVES You love us. You really, really love us.
The Hives
Sat July 31
8 NW 6th

I think it may be time to start seeing other people. Something's changed. The energy's there but it feels more like the ghost of momentum than something happening right now. You keep saying you're the best band in the world, and I keep forgetting I no longer really believe that.

I first fell for the Hives by chance. Trekking through Europe in 2000, I stumbled into a Paris bar on the recommendation of a French newspaper promising a "punkrockandroll" show. The band was a fireball of bratty tantrums--frontman Pelle Almqvist's voice breaking every time he hit a high note--with recklessness in place of rage and a sense of humor to stand in for sex appeal. And, most obviously, they had a shtick.

Actually, they had schticks--all of which continue to linger. They still wear the same suits. They still claim that a mysterious Svengali, Randy Fitzsimmons, put the band together and helped write the songs. And they still tell you how much you love the Hives, over and over and over. All of which was a lot of funny hot air to American audiences back then--except that it worked. Due to their not-so-subliminal message, interest in the band spread like a communicable disease, and soon they were our favorite band.

But staying on top often means more pop and more polish. And on the Hives' first new record since people Stateside found out who the hell they were, Tyrannosaurus Hives, they almost turn their backs on garage rock. And when you endlessly claim to be the shit worldwide, and then you become that shit, you've gotta do a hell of a lot more than keep your formulas clean. Tyrannosaurus is more of the pretty good same, which is not nearly enough to justify the hype that precedes it. Maybe it's me, though. Maybe I've changed--or, to be more specific, maybe I haven't. The Hives no longer have the starved-artist swagger--there's no irony in their bluster. What you hear now is the sound of a rich and famous band. They're an institution. So while I don't want to break up with the Hives completely just yet, I think it's time for me to find my New Favorite Band.