Millencolin - Pennybridge Pioneers (Cover Artwork)


Pennybridge Pioneers (2000)


I first found Millencolin in Tony Hawk 2, with their song No Cigar, which was a killer track to skate to. Not just that; the tempo, surprisingly deep lyrics and killer sound would all lead me to one of the most underrated CDs of my generation. But, I didn't know that yet.

I was still in my "I hate the world, so I'm going to listen to metal and be cynical" phase, so I didn't think much of the song. After about a year of this, I stumbled back to my Playstation to rev up Tony Hawk 2 again, and again, I heard the song. The difference this time was, I wasn't in that phase, and I was inbetween phases, so I looked up the song, looked up the artist, and hit up, and found a sampling of their new stuff (what would become Man or Mouse and Fingers Crossed from Home From Home) and one song from each CD of their back catalog.

I must say, after I listened to Dance Craze, Bullion and Twenty Two, I was hooked. These guys were melodic, honest, and weren't sellouts? Amazing.

For various reasons, most of which being my cash and the cd never were in the same store at the same time, I never bought the CD until this Christmas (yes, I'm a catholic, sue me)

And now, with the review. All of these tracks are breathtakingly intricate with guitars, the backing vocals are just so, and the whole CD, when listened from start to finish will leave you in awe.

No Cigar was a perfect opening track which I've already described.

Next is the track Fox. It is scientifically impossible to hear this song and not eiether bounce up and down like you're on your bed, or nod your head with the infectious and fast beat.

Material Boy comes at you with more of those lyrics that actually mean something, and say something about materialism in general:
I'm breaking my heart/as my compassion for the third world turns to greed/Bye bye real McCoy/No ideals as if I was royal/Now I'm a material boy/There's nothing in this world don't think I need.

Duckpond is a very strong track, a slower, rockier song about a kid who'se alone in his town, with no one to talk to. That said, its the weakest song on the CD.

Then, the tempo gets a kick in the ass from Right About Now. The song is hopeful, bright and has a positive outlook as opposed to the last track. It's also about 1 minute and 45 seconds long, with hyper fast drumbeats, and blazing guitars. The ideas in the song should also not be missed:
At 23, I was far from feeling free/At 24 my life was a big bore/Now I'm 25 and still not high/yeah I'm 25 but I'm still alive/I'll never give up till I reach my goal/until I reach my goal/control my body and soul.

Penguins and Polarbears sets the mood dour again, but this time, does it quickly, and enjoyably, so its no surprise that this was one of the singles from the CD.

Hellman is a great track, by all standards, but i never got into the not too fast melody, and the lyrics while great, don't do it for me.

Devil Me is a fast piece, that with Nikola's rhyming could give any MTV rapper a run for their money. The backing vocals really add to the song here, and the lyrics here are incredibly playful and sometimes even laugh out loud hillarious.

While we've gotten on and off depressing songs, Stop to Think makes you do just that: think. The verses sound like they're going into another chorus, but once you hit the chorus, it's Millencolin through and through, enjoyable, bouncy softcore.

The Mayfly is just like any other track on the CD, quality softcore, meaningful, deep lyrics, and a great way to represent the CD in a song. It also stands out, but goes well in the CD too.

Highway Donkey gives you another shot of those meaningful lyrics, good speed, intensity and depressing feel. The CD has the taste of punk and rock, and this is where you figure it out.

A Ten is to this CD what Black Eye is to Home From Home, and again ,the backing vocals, depressing guitar and slow muffled drumbeat, is one of those tracks that comfort you when you're alone. I'd also like to note that this is the only emo-like track on the CD.

The next track kicks the CD back into overdrive. That song is Pepper and goes again into an incinerating intensity and again, hopeful lyrics:
I know it's all in you, just gotta find out what you wanna do./I know it's all in you and deep inside you feel it too./I know it's all in you, the common sense, splendid point of view. /I know it's all in you, all your dreams they can come true.

And now, the ending track on the CD, quite possibly the best ender ever:
The Ballad Millencolin goes acoustic, and tells the tale of an unpopular boy with jaw dropping results, and piano work by the stellar producer, Brett Gurewitz. This is a track to listen to when you're cold and all alone, depressed, crying and ready to kill yourself. This will convince you otherwise.

Why did I give this CD a 9? Because a perfect CD has no weaknesses at all, however miniscule, and has the potential to reach everyone, everywhere. If you want an introduction to punk, and look for a CD that will revive your faith in softcore, look no further.

I got the mp3s a couple years before I got the CD, and now that I'm into hardcore bands, I still look on this as a seminal CD, and a landmark for softcore, and punk itself. If you're jaded about punk, look at this to change that immediately. Without these guys, I doubt I would be into punk today. I'm also, much, much happier.