Millencolin - Machine 15 (Cover Artwork)


Machine 15 (2008)

Burning Heart

The new effort by Orebro, Swedish punk rockers Millencolin is a strong leap forward for a pop-punk band. The band's previously big leap forward occurred with 2000's Pennybridge Pioneers, which saw the band playing with more of a pop-rock base than melodic skatepunk. Nevertheless, the new record sings a change in the band's history: The music is still catchy, but the general feeling you have after listening is that it's a solid rock record. No punk or skate hardcore is present here.

Machine 15 is the result of about three years of silence after the previous work Kingwood, which I honestly found really boring. Contrary to that album, on this new disc the band gets directly to the point: There is no empty space for fillers or for hard-to-get melodies. You can clearly hear the influences of what the band's members have been doing outside of Millencolin: Nikola Sarcevic with his solo project, Mathias Färm with his Franky Lee band, and even Erik Ohlsson with his artwork skills (he has been doing the artwork of the band's album for several albums now). On a prodution note, the band worked with Lou Giordano (Sugar, Taking Back Sunday, Plain White T's, the Ataris, Sunny Day Real Estate) on this record -- they already worked together on Home from Home -- and mixed the album with Michael Ilbert, who has lent his skills to records by the likes of the Hives and Roxette.

Even though the first single "Detox" is quite annoying, I must say that the record is made of strong songs: tunes like "Done Is Done" where you can hear violins, or "Come On", with its outrageously poppy chorus, which caught my attention from the start. "Broken World" is a blending rock song, with harmonic guitar riffs made to piss off the hardcore fans maybe, and Nikola's vocals just sounding awesome; "Who's Laughing Now," preceded by the 11-second song "Centerpiece," is a mid-tempo anthem reminding me of Bad Religion's The Gray Race era, while the other songs, well, they all take perfect shape in the meaning of the record: "Brand New Game," "Ducks & Drakes" and "Danger for Stranger" are all possible hits and are going to kill the fans during the live shows. Seriously, I had a hard time discovering a bad song; maybe only the first single, "Detox," is the one miss, but in general, the album is a great combination of energy, melody and rock.

This is the new classic Millencolin album. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but this is it: a record where you will find the new Millencolin in perfect shape.