On its eighth album and 23 years into its life, Swedish pop-punk band Millencolin continues to bring the skaters together with True Brew. This effort is jam-packed full of technical proficiency, bite and melodic goodness, which is hardly surprising considering that Scandinavians simply can’t make something NOT catchy, even if they never tried. Look out for some post-choruses and bridges that are better than some choruses!
Opener Egocentric Man excites with Fredrik Larzon’s solid yet galloping drums and Erik Ohlsson and Mathias Färm’s scruffy riffs, despite some hilarious lines like ‘no education but gym is good’. The sound mix on this track (actually on much of the album) is refreshing, as bassist Nikola Sarcevic’s vocals ring clear despite the band being turned up.
Chameleon keeps up the poppiness and confident, punchy riffs that breathe fire and energy in, though Autopilot Mode rushes ahead as if it’s really on autopilot. Bring Me Home is well suited for a good time, with a bridge bringing a musical change that is bound to induce smiles in listeners.
The most noteworthy track is Sense & Sensibility, whose opening riffs immediately suggest that the band had something important to say. Listeners should see past the upbeat choruses and listen to the lyrics concerning ‘racist jerks’, which leave nothing to the imagination regarding what the track is about. The tone is of anger, sneering and defiance, especially in light of growing nationalism in Sweden and Europe generally.
Wall Of Doubt has a rare moment of quiet with a piano intro, before it pummels with euphoria and optimism despite a tale where lovers live like an ‘old married couple’ and struggle to reach the other side of this wall. Man Of 1000 Tics is as nervous and jittery as its title suggests.
More dramatic moments include the bouncy, off-kilter and almost pro-feminist Perfection Is Boring and the rousing, country-inspired epic Mr. Fake Believe. Believe in John unfortunately ends the album on a clunky, juvenile note, and also deviates little from earlier tracks on the album.
Millencolin’s eighth full-length succeeds thanks to well-constructed melodies, attitude and a less-is-more approach, as none of the tracks go for more than three minutes.