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The Hives

The Hives

Countdown to Shutdown

The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons


Released 11 August 2023

There are rock bands and then there are Rock Bands—groups who embody a particular and baldly mythological definition of the term so completely that it’s difficult to imagine them doing normal things like taking the garbage out or wearing shorts. (This is why people have spent years marvelling at a photo of Glenn Danzig buying cat litter.) And few bands have embodied this ideal more than The Hives have across three decades. Which is why the most shocking moment on the Swedish garage-punk traditionalists’ first album in over 11 years is on “Rigor Mortis Radio”, when Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist sneers, “I got your emails, yeah/Delete, delete.” With their matching custom suits and quasi-supervillain alter egos—bassist Dr. Matt Destruction is no longer in the band, but that name is forever—the whole idea of The Hives is rooted in timelessness, and breaking character feels like a record scratch. “It’s very much on purpose,” Almqvist tells Apple Music. “It's been 11 years, but in The Hives' world, it's the same.”

While so many of the bands they were lumped in with during the great Rock Is Back! bonanza of the early 2000s are gone or diminished, The Hives have doubled down on their Hivesness, right down to the title referencing the demise of their mysterious Svengali and mentor (who may not have been alive to begin with). “We're five individuals who are in the band, but The Hives are something different than that. It's not a sum of its parts at all,” Almqvist says. “We wanted to invent our favourite band and then become that band. We have too much respect for what we do onstage to treat it like it's a fucking living room. We're like The Last Samurai or something.”

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