August 19, 2002 12:00 PM

The Hives (Epitaph/Burning Heart/Sire)

The Hives are breaking out, but can they live up to their own buzz? Everything about these guys is hilarious, from their chosen genre, Swedish punk (one pictures Volvos pulling up to tidy, state-run tattoo parlors), to their silly stage names (Dr. Matt Destruction on bass) and song titles (“Declare Guerre Nucléaire”). No doubt they’ll soon be revealed to be pranksters from Austin, Texas, but in the meantime their infectious garage sound may unite seething teens with graying parents who haven’t exercised their rage muscles since the Sex Pistols hit. The Hives are here to remind us that if your guitar doesn’t sound like you’re raking a dead cat over the strings, you just don’t get it. Like Sid Vicious, though, the joy here is short-lived: At 28:02 the whole album is shorter than your average Bono Grammy-acceptance speech.

Bottom Line: Bee plus

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