Released: 11th August 2023
11 years without a full-length release, and you’d perhaps expect many musicians to be out of the loop regarding what’s exciting; not Swedish rockers The Hives, though. Their new album ‘The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons’ sees them take on a slightly more ghoulish theme as the record explores what became of the band’s imaginary sixth member, founder and mentor Randy Fitzsimmons. With a whole backstory to it, including the discovery of a burial site that contained not remains but rather some demo tapes, new suits for the group and an inscription of the album’s title. It’s certainly a dramatic way of coming up with a new era, but after all, this is The Hives, and they’re nothing if not dramatic at all times.
The boisterous rock that permeates this album is not unfamiliar within their discography; they’re a group whose career is built on huge guitar riffs and witty lyrics. Opener ‘Bogus Operandi’ is a prime example of both elements and the kind of track you’d show your friends to introduce them to the group.
There’s no stopping them once they get started either, there’s not a single second on this album where the band stop to even consider making something of a slower pace – they’re certainly not the type to make room for a soppy ballad. Although, their style does switch up slightly on ‘What Did I Ever Do To You’ where the guitar feels very much like something Arctic Monkeys would’ve put on 2013’s ‘AM’ album, which is quite fitting considering The Hives just finished a stint supporting the group on their latest UK tour.
Vocalist Howlin’ Pelle was right when he said rock’n’roll can’t grow up, and thank God it can’t because even after over 20 years in the business, The Hives know exactly how to please an audience.