Amongst the "Guitar Rock" revival that engulfed the UK in Leopard Skin and PVC in the early part of this decade, fans of the diverse genres on offer were exposed to some truly groundbreaking releases from the likes of "The Hives", "The (International) Noise Conspiracy", "Divisions of Laura Lee" and "Randy".
Yet, one small, possibly insignificant thing linked all these bands, and that was all of the fantastic music was coming out of Scandinavia.
Fast-forward some six or seven years and one name not on this list but certainly a major mover and shaker at the same time, have continued to champion their cause worldwide. That band is Sweden's "Millencolin".
"Machine 15" is album number eight for the four piece and it sees the band in a somewhat more melodic frame of mind than some of their previous releases. This in turn makes for the album to be one of those frustrating creatures that on first listen sounds a little like everyone else currently in vogue, but somehow the tunes end up etched on your brain, with the outcome of involuntary humability.
But here in also lies my problem with this album, it's undeniably great disposable guitar pop with a hint of rock here and there, and the tracks are certainly as catchy as an STD on a 80's Motley Crue Tour Bus, but "Millencolin" really sound like they don't know if they want to be "Will Owsley" or "Nathan Leonne" let alone "Nikola Sarcevic".
"Come On", for example strums along on a "Billie Joe Armstrong" opening refrain before exploding into a "Silver Sun" like powerpop epic ideal for the long hot summer nights that we may see one day soon. "Machine 15" meanwhile, the albums lead cut, doffs its cap to a certain band named after a term for WWII UFO and this is also evident in "Detox" and "Turnkey Paradise" and certainly makes for a step away from the early Skate Punk roots of the band.
When I saw "Millencolin" a few years back, mid afternoon on a piss poor Indie saturated day at the Reading Festival they shone out like diamonds in a pile of horseshit. Here on "Machine 15" they simply blend into the background, albeit you simply can't get the fifteen songs on offer here out of your fucking head.
File under annoyingly catchy Punk/Power Pop.
3 out of 5
by Johnny H.
Visit the Millencolin Website