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Boomkat Product Review:
In his self-penned press notes for this album, Espers frontman Greg Weeks talks with a feverish excitement about having constructed his own analogue recording studio, with a 2" tape machine and a mellotron at the heart of his new sound. Despite these advances, Weeks is still enthusiastic about throwing some medieval sounding recorder into the mix: opener 'You Won't Be The Same Ever Again' stays very much within the prog-folk Espers sound world. Indeed, despite this being billed as a solo outing The Hive features bandmates Otto Hauser and Helena Espvall as well as regular contributors Jesse Sparhawk, Margaret Wienk (aka Fern Knight) and Orion Rigel Domisse. Espers have been known to come up with some inspired cover versions in their time (best represented on The Weed Tree album), but Weeks' joy-sapping version of Madonna's 'Borderline' is a most curious thing, changing virtually all elements but the lyrics. It's almost an entirely different piece of music, featuring brilliantly creepy dulcimer phrases evaporating at the back end of the mix. Oddly, this album was mixed on the very same mixing console through which the original 'Borderline' was produced. The Hive takes in some very fine songs indeed, and the analogue recording is lovingly rendered, all adding up to something that's more than merely a stopgap between Espers LPs. Highly recommended.