Day 298 – #165. The Hives – Barely Legal

The Hives - Barely Legal Album Review

I looked back through my posts about The Hives that I’ve been, shall we say… a little bit harsh. So I’ll try to say something nice about their full-length debut from 1997, Barely Legal. The good news is that it won’t be too difficult, because it’s an album teeming with the untamed energy of youth.

Which makes a whole lot of sense: lead vocalist Pelle Almqvist was just 19 years old when the album dropped.

These are The Hives I remember, though – the ones I will choose to remember, anyway. Not a single song exceeds three minutes, and almost half the album’s track don’t see the light of the two minute mark. It’s a furious and concentrated approached that the group all but abandoned after their breakout smash Veni Vidi Vicious.

I think this is the way the band should have been. Notions of “selling out” be damned. And I get it. The music landscape of today is unrecognizable from its form in 2000, the year of that album, but there will always be a place for those types of bands, whose mission statement is to, and I quote, “fuck shit up.”

Working through Barely Legal is through the scope of the group’s later work is fun, if only to see how little they cared back then – and I mean that in the best way possible. They were free of expectation, of pressure to perform, and were able to go out and have a blast and write songs that were less than 120 seconds long without a record label executive breathing down their hit to produce something so EA could put it on their NHL ’13 soundtrack.

And sure, the production value of this album doesn’t match up to, say, 2012’s Lex Hives, the group’s attempt at reincorporating some of their early sound.

But that’s what makes this record what it is. Fun. Free. Loose. A neat blast from the past, some 16+ years later.

From Barely Legal, this is “A.K.A. I-D-I-OT” –

Standout tracks: “Here We Go Again,” “Hail Hail Spit ’n Drool,” “Automatic Schmuck” and “What’s That Spell?… Go To Hell!”
Weakest track: “The Stomp,” but I have no real justifiable reason.

RIYL: Garage rock, punk rock, IKEA.

Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/barely-legal/id300994589

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s