By Raf Richardson-Carillo*
Efficiency is something we tend to look for in cars or refrigerators, not music. Veni Vidi Vicious, released in April 2000, stands as proof that a great record does not need to be epic. Twelve songs. Twenty-eight minutes. Even if you hate every song, these five Swedes will not have taken much of your time.
I hesitate to use the first person when writing these reviews, but I have to step in here because this album means an enormous amount to me. I was eleven when it was released, and like any other eleven-year old, I had no idea what I liked and thus politely nodded along with everyone else’s assessment of things. I came upon this album, and realized it was exactly what I’d been looking for. It helped me figure out my taste, and to this day my experience with it informs what I choose to listen to.
The album – aside from track 8, a cover of “Find Another Girl,” (Butler, Mayfield) – is pure rock. The guitar riffs are fast, the drum licks are loud (also fast), and Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist more than lives up to his adjective. The arrogance – false or not – for which the Hives are now famous is evident in the lyrics (perhaps most notably in “Main Offender”: Thought it all over now I spit it out/When I spit I spit on those that I care less about), and if the music wasn’t so damn good somebody might just do something about it. Like all great artists, the Hives understood early on that they had to love themselves before anyone else would.
In the time it takes to listen to the Hives’ second studio album, you could write a review on it. I oughta know, I just did.
*Raf Richardson-Carillo is a contributing writer for Officially A Yuppie, his past works include the underrated classic features of Townes Van Zandt's "Live at the Old Quarter" and Deltron 3030.