One Man Army
The Mooney Suzuki
The Reigning Sound
Crystal Ballroom – 1332 W. Burnside – all ages
Veni Vidi Viscious
(aka Warner Bros. Records Inc.)
Another near-perfect rock record. It has every element that would add up to being an essential release. But does anyone actually give a shit any longer?
By now anyone remotely interested in pop culture realizes garage rock is the “now” sound. But for many this has always been the case. For those just realizing the beauty of pared down garage-blues via the White Stripes, I have news for you. They are great, but they are not the first and certainly not the last soulful punk rock saviors.
Then there are those kids with the hair from NYC. I like the Strokes and have defended their debut record. It is a stellar collection of songs and the production is first rate. But I am sure not losing sleep over their street credibility. The way this issue has been debated makes it obvious there really are people losing sleep over it. You know who you are.
In the midst of these bands gaining popularity and the jackasses from Rolling Stone wanting to not miss the boat, garage rock is big again. I personally can’t remember if last year rock was dead or if that was two years ago, but a highly paid publicist has revived that corpse. Again we rock.
This isn’t at all meant to disparage the Hives. Their record Veni Vidi Viscious is well written and has the right attitude. From the first track it grabs you like all good records of this genre should. There is the jagged lead guitar, the ubiquitous tambourine and a whole bunch of energy. And a clever title: “The Hives – Declare Guerre Nucleaire.” Can’t go wrong with that blaster.
But somewhere between the beginning and end something doesn’t add up. I should love this record (and I would certainly take it over most of the stuff finding its way onto the airwaves), but I do not.
The fact that it was recorded in 1999 and released in 2000 and has now gotten a major label push in America that has propelled them into “next big thing” status should be uplifting. Wouldn’t it be great if all great records finally found an audience? But this somehow doesn’t feel like a triumph. It feels like marketing.
And in most ways I hope that I am wrong. This is an obviously passionate and powerful band. There is nothing bad I could say about them. I would even go so far as to say I hope me saying this angers someone. Someone out there has to give a shit that the Hives have put up a great garage rock record.
The people at Warner Bros. Records Inc. are hoping the same thing. Best of luck to the Hives. They deserve all the success in the world. And will I go to their show? I can’t be sure. I might make it out or I might be home listening to the Lord High Fixers or the Nation of Ulysses, bitching about how the kids don’t understand.