Table of Contents
The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons
- Genre: Rock
- Date: 11 Aug, 2023
- Content: explicit
- Region: NGA
- Track(s): 12
- ℗ 2023 The Hives AB
The Hives, a Swedish rock band, released The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons, their sixth studio album, on 11 Aug 2023, on their Disques Hives label. The album is the first studio offering from the Hives in more than 11 years since Lex Hives in 2012. This is the longest time between two Hives albums. Nobody could quite pinpoint who the five dapper gentlemen were or what they wanted from us when they suddenly appeared wearing matching black and white suits with ballistic attitudes. It’s almost impressive how the general public first approved their insane, self-aware pomposity. But that was another time when loud, straightforward rock ruled the radio.
The Hives, now towering figures on the Mount Rushmore of the Noughties garage rock revival, are responsible for a significant portion. The Swedes know this and have revived the infectious frenetic riff-pogoing that helped make “Hate to Say I Told You So” and “Walk Idiot Walk” staples of the indie disco scene. They also jokingly refit custom-made outfits with white-hot bolts to demonstrate that their dizzying energy is not lost at all and that lightning can strike (more than) twice.
Twenty years later, “The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons” continues The Hives’ joke about being the best band in the world and unearths the legend surrounding their enigmatic eponymous collaborator. Eccentric MC Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist best delivers this humorous narcissistic jab. Nicholaus Arson, the bassist for The Hives, confirmed this to the media earlier this year while paying homage to the made-up persona who is said to have planned their whole record. It’s important to remember not to take things too seriously or literally when listening to the band, as with most of their utterances.
The album art is quite eerie on its own. Five band members are represented by the five figures carrying shovels and spades as they appear to be digging up a grave while peering into a coffin against a night sky backdrop. One watches as the other reaches in with an arm extending to pick up something. The band’s explanation of the album’s genesis—starting with Randy Fitzsimmons’ empty coffin—fits this tale nicely.
Tracks And Features
The riff-tastic lead song “Bogus Operandi” serves as an introduction to “The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons,” which is all business. On the album’s first track, “Bogus Operandi,” the eccentric MC Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist ably leads the crowd-pleasing melodies. This song was everyone’s favourite comeback single because of its catchy earworms. The infectious energy of “Bogus Operandi” sets the stage for the rest of the album, showcasing The Hives’ signature blend of punk and garage rock. With its irresistible hooks and Almqvist’s charismatic vocals, the song quickly became a fan favourite, leaving listeners eagerly anticipating what’s to come next.
On the catchy second track, “Countdown to Shutdown,” a bass line from The Johan and Only and barre chords that throttle up and down with all kinds of grooves. “Trapdoor Solution” sounds just like any minute-long blast from Tyrannosaurus Hives or Veni Vidi Vicious, two albums that were all-killers and had no filler, making The Hives seem like the only band you’d ever need to hear.
Smoke & Mirrors, a sentimental midpoint on an otherwise fast-paced record, has a similar anthemic quality. They may have been inspired to write ‘What Did I Ever Do To You?’ as a response to ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ by the possibility of performing on stage with the Monkeys. It’s as experimental as the quintet goes, with lyrical randomness that’s straight out of Alex Turner’s book and a riff that is startlingly comparable.
The band’s poppier or left-fielder inclinations after 2007’s thunderous “Tick Tick Boom” have occasionally lacked the sharp edges of high gain, pounding rhythms, and Howlin Pelle’s insane ad-libbed shrieks, despite being flawlessly performed. The Bomb, a call-and-response rollercoaster named after a mega-night out, is its wild younger sibling. The Hives continue to party more complex than the rest of us, even though they may be reaching their forties.
Though the runaway train is kept in check by stepping beyond their well-honed craft, the album’s best moments come from the savage, razor-sharp accuracy of The Hives-of-old sound. The frontman’s croons over “Smoke & Mirrors” reveal a darkly tinted piece of punk rock memorabilia that borders on Oi! The trip-hop background to “What Did I Ever To You” is its most successful experiment. However, “The Bomb” and “Step Out Of The Way” are about as explosive as they have been since the “Dead Quote Olympics” in 2004, concluding proceedings with the awareness that these elder statesmen still have more life in them, despite the ironic deathly undertones that abound.
The tempo is so fast that the bounce of “Crash Into The Weekend” almost seems like a break, a preview of the impending utter carnage that will last through the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Step out of the way if you can’t keep up, cautions the album’s closing track, “Step Out Of The Way,” as the album comes to a gratifying close.
|3||Countdown to Shutdown||3:13|
|4||Rigor Mortis Radio||2:28|
|6||Smoke & Mirrors||3:01|
|7||Crash into the Weekend||2:58|
|8||Two Kinds of Trouble||2:44|
|9||That’s the Way the Story Goes||2:56|
|11||What Did I Ever Do to You?||3:09|
|12||Step out of the Way||1:39|
The band asserts that these songs were discovered in an empty casket due to information provided in an obituary for their manager, the enigmatic Mr Fitzsimmons. The Hives raced back into the studio after an absence of 11 years in the only mode they were familiar with chaos. It’s high time younger generations got a hefty serving of classic Hives, complete with their trademark passion, silliness, and matching black and white outfits. Randy Fitzsimmons would have preferred it. The Hives’ demonstration of adapted riffs and reinvention dispels the notion that they should be reduced to throwback nostalgia or used as models for aspiring guitarists practising in basements now that the garage rock movement is raising its glorious head once more. They are the whirling dervishes that we have cherished for years, and they have brewed another storm at a time when music needs a hefty dose of fun once more.
The Hives - Bogus Operandi (Official Video)
The Hives - Countdown to Shutdown (Official music video)
The Hives - Rigor Mortis Radio (Live Visualiser)
Smoke & Mirrors
Crash Into The Weekend
Two Kinds Of Trouble
The Way The Story Goes
The Hives - The Bomb (Official Music Video)
What Did I Ever Do To You?
Step Out Of The Way