Cheery Punk To Slap A Smile On Your Face

With six albums under their belts and a career that covers some sixteen years, it’s safe to say that Millencolin are the most successful punk band to come out of Sweden. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Blink 182 and have managed to retain their core fans throughout and yet somehow they have avoided the mainstream, a feat that gives them an almost old school edge that you can’t help but admire. Now after a three year break the band are back with another bout of infectious tunes to latch onto in the same vein as Blink 182 or Green Day. Having ditched the anger driven rock of previous release ‘Kingswood’, ‘Machine 15’ is out to pummel all with beats doused in a skate-core mentality that cheerfully saunters by with a smug lopsided grin firmly planted on its mug.

Boasting melodic hooks, chugging riffs and dose of punchy vocals akin to Against Me! or The Hives, opener and album title track ‘Machine 15’ instantly pounds its way into your head and lays the foundations for a highly charged and incessantly addictive album. Well, that’s what you’d hope would follow anyway. Instead as ‘Done Is Done’ staggers by complete with synthesised strings and Chris Connel-esque vocals, Millencolin seem happy to merely comply to the punk rock guidelines, offloading what at times sound like songs in search of a mainstream audience once again. ‘Detox’ attempts to wittily poke fun at having to go to rehab not for a drug problem but instead an addiction to music and whilst this may be funny at first, by the end it becomes all too much like Good Charlotte; pop laced vocals that are trying to be gritty but are just too sugar coated. For a band of Millencolin’s calibre you can’t help but feel a little disappointed that there’s not a little extra bite or oomph to their latest album. But then just when you’re losing hope the Swedish act smack you across the face with a brilliantly anthemic slab of punk rock as ‘Brand New Game’ builds from a simple onslaught of thumping riffs to a full blown sing out loud chorus that reaffirms why this is a great band. Sure, there may be dips, ‘Ducks And Drakes’ is perhaps best skipped, but then ‘Turnkey Paradise’ pushes its way out of the speakers, drenched in feel good punchy beats and smile inducing vocals that would even make the face of a botox addict acquire a new crease and miraculously everything is shining once more.

Having discarded the anger fuelled punk that nestled in their earlier work, Millencolin have acquired a spring in their step that clings to the same tempo throughout to guarantee foot tapping status. There are of course times when this becomes too much, tracks are easily forgotten and bleed into each other but then some old Millencolin sparkle shines through and the Swedish punk rockers win you over all again. It won’t be enough to secure new fans but at the very least ‘Machine 15’ will leave their faithful followers content till the next outing.