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Music Review: Millencolin – Machine 15

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Swedish skate-punk rock band Millencolin have just released Machine 15, their seventh studio release in their fifteen year career.  Having already been released overseas, Machine 15 is finally available in the US with thanks from Epitaph Records.  This CD is just more proof that Millencolin has what is takes to be a top notch punk rock act.  Full of addicting melodies with matched vocals this CD is sure to hit the sweet spot of any punk rock fan out there.

Millencolin started in 1992 in Sweden by the same four members that play today.  The band was quickly picked up by overseas record label Burning Heart and just a couple years down the road signed to Epitaph Records for US releases.  The band is a group of musically inclined friends who are more like brothers.  When Millencolin takes a break the members separate and focus their attention on their own little side projects that range from acoustic all the way to hardcore music.  Needless to say when they are ready to record and tour, they reunite their attention and creativity as a whole.

One thing I always liked about Millencolin, aside from their trademark sound, is their love for skateboarding.  The band’s name is actually derived off a skateboard move called a melancholy. After gaining some success, the band began hosting a yearly skateboard contest in 2003 at a skate park the band actually owns in their hometown.  The contest was started because the band credits skateboarding as a major reason for the formation of Millencolin.   It’s nice to see bands become involved with the community. 

I was immediately reminded why I love this band so much as soon as track opener “Machine 15” played.  Sounding to be almost an anthem for the band’s career with Millencolin being the machine the song was just full of energy.  

One upping the title track was “Done Is Done” a song that unashamedly amazed me with the string section coming together with the catchy pop punk rock sounds.  This track alone won this CD over for me.  Just to hear the band try something a little different made it that much better. 

Sounding more like their older material was “Vicious Circle” with rather interesting lyrics about questioning a perverse relationship.  Then there was “Come On” with more of patching things up type approach at a relationship.  Even with the  two different spectrums they were both great tracks.

I was not sure “Who’s Laughing Now” was about but the song was full of liveliness and addicting as hell to listen to.  After reading the lyrics I have decided that they were talking about Johnny Knoxville, but I am probably wrong.

“Saved By Hell” did not sound too much like Millencolin at the beginning as the song was more rock and a little on the slow side.  I was not into the song at all until the punk picked up and the string section returned to add excitement to the track.  It was transformed into a ballad of sorts, a climax to an awesome CD.

I could hear the classic Millencolin sound throughout the entire disc but the boys have tried something new and it seemed to make this CD extra pop punk in a good way.  Pushing the limits on the “pop” part of pop punk and adding new elements of music such as a strings section made this CD even more enjoyable to listen to.  Millencolin continues their trend of putting out great material and I have a feeling that this CD is going to be getting a lot of attention.

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About Brian McConville