Tyrannosaurus Hives is misleading after an inital spin. Compared to the garage band's second album, 2000's Veni Vidi Vicious, this album is cold and slick, very different from the raw Vicious, which had a basic live sound. After a few more listens, however, the new album's sheen begins to wear off. Beneath the production lies a creative, catchy punk rock album from a band much more creative than their matching suits.
Despite the production changes, The Hives haven't lost the ability to craft a good hook. Even when mixing their punk with touches of New Wave, The Hives still manage to put together an album comprised of riffs and choruses as catchy as those on Veni Vidi Vicious. In addition to the heavy riffs, The Hives also become more melodic on Tyrannosaurus Hives, namely on the album's best track, "A Little More for Little You."
The shift in production ultimately does not hurt the album's catchiness, but The Hives also justify the change in the album's content. As always, lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist spouts off funny, cutting lyrics, but this time the group is concerned with a person's tendency to follow and listen. This focus can be found in the album's lead single, "Walk Idiot Walk." Almqvist howls, "See that robot walk/See that robot talk/See that robot write up his name on the ballot." The industrial production reflects the mechanical characters in the lyrics.
Tyrannosaurus Hives isn't an instantly infectious as its predecessor, but given some time, it proves itself to be a worthwhile, focused punk effort. The shtick still gets the Hives prime placement on magazine covers, but Tyrannosaurus Hives proves that they aren't as black and white as their outfits.