Unglued Reviews

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MILLENCOLIN – Machine 15 (Epitaph)

Original release date: May 6th, 2008

Millencolin - Machine 15 coverCurrently celebrating 15 years with the same lineup, Scandinavian punk rock mainstays Millencolin’s history and legacy is reflected in the lyrics on their new album – the wonderfully self-referential Brand New Game consists of multiple allusions to previous Millencolin songs (making it a kind of follow-up to Mooseman’s Jukebox from their last album, which name-checked a string of influential songs by other artists), and the title track commemorates the band’s milestone with the chorus, “the machine is turning fifteen”. It’s an appropriate metaphor: they are a true rock and roll machine by now, firing on all cylinders on tracks such as the buzz saw guitar-driven Who’s Laughing Now.

With this seventh studio album, Millencolin continue the slow but steady evolution of their sound – their ska-tinged skate-punk roots have given way over time to a musclier, more mature approach. This maturity is reflected in the presence of two atmospheric instrumentals (Centerpiece and End Piece) which divide and conclude the album, while Done Is Done features a string section, which enhances the song’s melancholy mood. In fact, a similar desolation marks much of the album, including the gloomy Ducks & Drakes.

It’s not all downbeat, though – first single Detox is a chirpy, bouncy number, Come On is bright and poppy, and Danger For Stranger is way more cheerful than a song with a chorus featuring the line, “where there is hate there is you” should be. Meanwhile, Turnkey Paradise and Broken World are simply catchy melodic punk such as fans have come to expect.

While maybe not quite up to the standard of career highpoint Pennybridge Pioneers, Machine 15 offers plenty of reasons to hope Millencolin endures for another 15 years.

Owen Heitmann

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