Album Review

The Hives - The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons

If anything, it feels like a return to their roots.

The Hives - The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons

While we’ve learned by now that The Hives operate with their collective tongue sufficiently close to cheek for us not to always take them at face value, there is something fascinating about the title of this record, especially coming as it does at the end of a long period in the wilderness; their last album being ‘Lex Hives’, released in 2012. ‘The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons’ comes off the back of a stadium run with Arctic Monkeys that confirmed that the group’s incendiary live energy remains undimmed. By apparently killing off the shadowy Fitzsimmons, long-established in Hives lore as their imaginary founder and sixth member, are they signalling the arrival of a new, perhaps more grown-up era? The short answer is no. If those wildly entertaining shows with the ‘Monkeys reminded us of anything, it’s that nobody wants to see The Hives stroking their chins and adopting a reflective mood; they want the rollicking, freewheeling and irrepressibly fun rockers we’d come to know and love before their disappearing act.

If anything, ‘The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons’ feels like a return to their roots; there’s a pleasing lack of polish to the production on what is a succession of punk rock blasts, from quick-fire bursts like ‘Trapdoor Solution’ and closer ‘Step Out of the Way’ to sustained salvos, with the bass-driven ‘Countdown To Shutdown’ a case in point. There’s playful evidence of new ideas being worked in, too, including the witty ‘Crash Into the Weekend’, an exercise in pop-rock minimalism, and the sixties-inflected swagger of ‘Stick Up’. Fitzsimmons may be dead, but on this evidence, reports of The Hives’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Tags: The Hives, Reviews, Album Reviews

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