The Hives – Main Offender EP

The Hives
Main Offender EP

This three-song enhanced CD single, also available as a 7″ vinyl release, is not only worthy of purchase for its rough-and-tumble, garage-punk style but is also certainly a collectible. Based on its being pressed with a vinyl-like lay-out of clear CD with small, centered, vintage-like label (where digital data appears); two previously unreleased audio tracks; and three MPEG videos for songs “Main Offender,” “Die Alright,” and “Hate to Say I Told You So” that must have cost a bit of coin to produce judging from their way above indie-average quality, Big Wheel Recreation (with license from Swedish-based label Burning Heart Records) has offered essentially a five-song release that will probably open a few wallets of today’s download-for-free listener. But what about the music you ask? Well, think the 60s Rolling Stones fresh from the garage and on to the stage of Ed Sullivan (complete with matching early-mod outfits), the 70s rock taunting of The Stooges, with a whole lot more of what The Strokes had a hard time living up to.
“Main Offender” is the title track from this US enhanced CD single that was also released on the other side of the Atlantic ocean including The Hives’ home of Fagersta, Sweden as the three-song EP it was meant to be. Why The Hives garage- and punk-rock appeal hasn’t taken hold here in the states sooner is unfounded, considering the current appeal for similar New York and Detroit styled garage rock bands and the fact that this still 20-something band sits atop a discography that includes three full-length records, considerable singles, and a host of compilation appearances. The five-piece, which consists of Nicholas Arson (guitar), Chris Dangerous (drums), Dr. Matt Destruction (bass), Vigalante Carlstroem (guitar), and Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist (singer), surpass a like-minded Urge Overkill with the ability to make good on their interesting nom de guerre rock names. “Lost and Found” is the more pop-like song whose fistful of speedy, guitar hooks I haven’t bothered to notice since The Romantics were the indie Detroit band playing their best song ever, “What I Like About You.” Ending Main Offender, The Hives do a rocking little number called “Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist Talks to the Kids” that approaches the very indie-revival-rock that The Make Up has also been talking to the kids about.
However, the better parts of this CD are the three videos, which, as was stated before, are brilliant in quality and appeal. “Main Offender” is a cutting edge production that although offering a vintage black and white appearance, rivals the quality of most videos appearing on MTV today. All the better that the song should also kick most of today’s lame-rock ass. “Die Alright” is the song taken from the full-length album Veni, Vidi, Vicious whose video was heavily broadcasted on MTV Nordic, MTV UK, and on Germany’s biggest music-channel VIVA II. Yeah, we only wish that we could see and hear videos as cool as this. The final video, “Hate to Say I Told You So” from that same full-length release, is chock full of Jagger-like panache and power … goddamn these videos are cool. A full multimedia experience that warrants your checking it out for its better-than-most, garage- and punk-rock music alone.