The Hives

Main Offender

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Administer a Main Offender blindfold test to a pop scholar and chances are they'll mistake the Hives for a garage band submerged in New York City's Lower East Side or suburban Detroit. In actuality, the Hives are a natty Swedish outfit that have mastered every noisy nuance of punk rock -- that is attitude, cheap guitar licks, more attitude, a pounding backbeat, and, finally, attitude. Front maniac Almqvist takes Iggy Pop's ruptured blues howl up a notch and runs it through a blender of revved up chain-saw riffs while his cadre of hooligans raise the roof. The combustion of chaos and enthusiasm is often infectious, especially on "Howlin' Pelle Talks to the Kids," which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that three chords and a sense of humor, in rock & roll, is timeless. The EP is a primer for a full-length release on Alan McGee's Poptones imprint.

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