Hives frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist has described the Swedish quintet's new album as "Devo meets Motown." He's not far off in his characterization—at least with the Devo comparison.

Hives frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist has described the Swedish quintet's new album as "Devo meets Motown." He's not far off in his characterization—at least with the Devo comparison. The most notable difference between 2000 album "Veni Vidi Vicious" and "Tyrannosaurus Hives" is how the band's signature brand of garage punk has been infused with a more mod, angular sound ("Walk Idiot Walk," "A Little More for Little You"). The shift in direction comes at the expense of some of the loose abandon that helped give rise to the best moments of "Veni," including the hit "Hate to Say I Told You So." However, listeners gain a more nuanced effort that plays better as a headphones record. "Diabolic Scheme," with its string flourishes, is the most ambitious and serious song the notorious party rockers have ever done—and clearly an outgrowth of their growing appreciation of studio polish.—BG