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It’s really important to the Hives that you see them as a novelty act. They dress in matching suits, give themselves silly pseudonyms, credit their songs to a fictitious Svengali, and spend most of their time on the churning alternative-rock circuit, where last year’s Paul McCoy is this year’s Seether. For these garage-rock traditionalists, who grew up lovingly translating Mitch Ryder lyrics into their native Swedish, this stance reflects a catechism: Songs should be short; rock groups should be as disposable as Billy bookcases; wonders should be of the one-hit variety. It’s an admirable plan, but the band’s tunes keep getting in the way. Take “Walk Idiot Walk,” the static-schtupped first single from the new Tyrannosaurus Hives, which has already assured the quintet longevity enough for a Behind the Music episode to come. Singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist has ditched his Iggy Pop impersonation in favor of a throaty put-down of a dopey politico who nonetheless manages to steal an election. It doesn’t take a political scientist to figure out which Mr. President he means, but the Hives’ intelligence is clearly as ferocious as its cheap-guitar attack. “B Is for Brutus,” for example, is a psychological study of Julius Caesar’s killer that mentions the Norwegian World War II traitor Vidkun Quisling and draws an analogy to the corporate life. Still, Almqvist & Co. would be the first to tell you they’re in a rock band, not a graduate-level seminar. Their all-English lyrics, which sound as if they were translated by the same guy who did Roxette’s, help this assertion considerably with lines such as “I was the target of a notion of submission see” (from, natch, “Abra Cadaver”). That said, a native wittiness pokes through the sometimes unlikely word combinations. “Dead Quote Olympics” takes aim at higher education—I think—with the impressive couplet “When weekends set standard and pace/We are all showered in books and berets.” Musically, there’s not a lot of new ground being covered here; the group’s Stooges influence is as pronounced as it was on 2002’s slightly better Veni Vidi Vicious, even if it’s tempered with the odd bit of Philly-soul-style strings (“Diabolic Scheme”) and New Wave guitar (“Love in Plaster”). Some might consider these touches unnecessary novelties, but to the Hives, they’re obviously all part of the plan.