Championing over twenty three years of studio albums and countless releases, it is only natural that Örebro Sweden's Millencolin would have two unreleased/b-sides compilations, 1999's The Melancholy Collection, and today's discussion: The Melancholy Connection.The album does a great job yanking you into the band's (post 2000's) particular brand of melodic punk rock with two recently recorded starters. "Carry You" and "Out From Nowhere" both do a terrific job illustrating the path that 2015's True Brew's sound was ultimately headed, as well as a decade worth of stepping stones they took to get there.
"Absolute Zero," immediately takes you to the heavy guitar tones and somewhat cock-rock themed influences from 2002's Home From Home sessions. As a child that thrived in Napster's peak of illegal downloading, it was B-Sides like this one that I scoured to attain the most, as there seems to be absolutely no reason in my opinion it shouldn't have made the album, possibly even replacing another tune. The riffs speak for themselves.
While "The Downhill Walk", "Bull By The Horns," and "E20 Norr" ("Battery Check" but in Nikola's Native language) all belong to the same Home From Home session, I was surprised to discover that "Phony Tony," "Bowmore," and "Into the Maze" were also deriving from the same collection of mic placements, as they seem to be written in the same style and methodology as 2000's Pennybridge Pioneers (or even 1997's For Monkeys in some ways.) It is clear that it was at this moment in the band's career that they made that definitive transition into the band that would release SOS earlier this year.
That leads me to one of the more puzzling songs in "Ratboy's Masterplan," which was tracked and cut from 2005's Kingwood, and is one of the only B-Sides from that session that I have ever found. The song sounds like a sloppy attempt to return to the pre Home From Home overlying dynamic of the current Millencolin.
"Dinner Dog" is simply a song that didn't make 2000's Pennybridge Pioneers because it wasn't great enough, "Queen's Gambit" capitalizes on the sound they were honing, but there isn't anything memorable about it either. They are worth a listen during this deep dive into the band's catalog if you are a fan of Millencolin, but once you have heard them you will likely go and enjoy Pennybridge again.
The compilation is paired with a DVD containing footage of their Pennybridge session, and a lot of Mr. Brett. Much recommend.
If you have been following the band for a long time, this is a cool release, and it is certainly better than the lopsided The Melancholy Collection that was released in 1999.