by Two-Headed Boy USER (86 Reviews)
September 4th, 2006 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

The unfortunate conclusions that come with modern pop-punk is a four or five piece band with nothing but pretty faces and music that your grandma wouldn't call actual punk. A band that appears regularily on MTV with their ironic, humorous and cute videos of odd relationships, social commentaries and high school dramatics that are about as deep as a kiddie pool. It's only natural that real pop-punk should remain in the underground. What's real pop-punk, you ask" Well, some say that pop-punk began with the Ramones. It's basically hardcore dumbed down for the masses. More commercially successful, accessable and, to a certain extent, more fun. As the Ramones created a new trend that continued through the early eighties, they handed the torch to Descendents, an intellegent, political and rougher version of pop-punk. In the mid nineties, we had NOFX, Green Day and Millencolin carry the title.

Millencolin is a band that started in 1992 in the mystic land of Sweden. Drawing comparisons to Lagwagon, Foo Fighters and even Bad Religion and the Clash, it's obvious that Millencolin were and still are an incredibly influenced band that don't follow the agenda that most pop punk bands are supposed to mature. The band has shown signs of aging, but their latest release, Kingwood, is a youthful blast of punk, power, and enthusiasm wrapped up nicely in a twelve song package which comes five minutes short of forty minutes. Short, undying and from beginning to end it's incredibly entertaining.

It's mostly unfair to draw comparisons when reviewing an album, but since Millencolin resemble many bands at fragmented times, it's probably essential that the reader should know what kind of music that Millencolin embody. With all the influences that shine on this album, it’s only natural to figure it’s a diverse punk album. For example, Cash or Clash would sound at home on the debut album from The Clash. Brief, energetic and full of power chords and a fist pumping chorus, this song may be as original as Ezee Cheeze™, but it’s an extremely fun song that keeps the mood light in the album. Things could not be more different for the follow up track, though, titled Shut You Out which sounds like a clone of early Jimmy Eat World, with it’s emotional vocals, hammering chord guitar and a repetitive lead, this song may be influenced by a semi-emo band but sounds as pure as white bread. Ray is reminiscent of early Bad Religion, with a hard rock feel that comes out in a comfortable sounding punk rock anthem. Clearly, this is a territory that Millencolin are familiar with, so it’s only natural that this is a strong track. It’s these kinds of songs that are highlights, songs like the finale Hard Times, which is a powerful rock anthem sped up to suit the band’s punk rock needs. The fascinating thing about this song is that if it was any slower, more dramatic or even produced slightly cleaner it would’ve wrecked the song completely.

Since the songs are individually unique, it might come as a turnoff to listeners expecting a punk rock bonanza from beginning to end. While this may not be the case, the album does a solid job of keeping it’s roots in play while experimenting with other genres. Throughout the album, we hear hints of Ska in Novo, a reference to alt-rock Foo Fighters style in the short, simplistic and ultimately enjoyable song Moosemen’s Jukebox, but the most entertaining would have to be the minute and a half length supposed “filler” song Simple Twist of Hate. Probably the most aggressive song on the album, this album is more prehistoric hardcore than anything. Probably the fastest song on the album, it doesn’t take away the rhythmical quality that the slower songs have to offer. But the best thing about the song is that it sounds neither modern nor aged. It sounds content with it’s eighties hardcore influences, but it also doesn’t quite like the rest of the album. While the album is a modern rendition of nineties pop punk, this song doesn’t seem out of place at all.

With all these influences being drawn, it either means that a band is entirely original or a carbon copy with little or no originality whatsoever. The question is, which is it in the case of our Swedish skate-punks" Well, I’ve though about this. They’re not unique. They occasionally experiment to a certain degree, but it seems that the influence in each song dominates the band’s sound. This is the truth in Millencolin – they aren’t that original. But even after 14 years, the band has kept their sound fresh and exciting, even after most bands they shared the spotlight with have moved on to more mature matters like politics and… well, politics. This is a very good thing for a band. They’ve kept their sound for a decade plus without getting boring, unoriginal or even unsatisfactory to hardcore nineties pop punkers. Clearly, this band has something going for them, even after fourteen years.

This is a fantastic punk album not only because of it’s diversity and influences, but because it remains loyal to the nineties pop-punk stage. While this may be a turnoff to modern fans of the genre, it may come as a surprise that most bands that have established a firm ground in the mainstream have had a major influence from this band in one way or another. This album is a fun reminder that this band are still on top of their game, even ten years after the game may have ended. Overall, this is a fantastic album that I'd reccomend to fans of early punk, nineties alt. rock and pop punk, and anyone who has a hankering for reminiscing with the nineties.

Recent reviews by this author
brokeNCYDE I'm Not a Fan, but the Kids Like It!Gregor Samsa 55:12
Niobe White HatsMatthew Good Hospital Music
Bad Astronaut Houston: We Have a Drinking ProblemBad Astronaut Acrophobe
user ratings (142)
other reviews of this album
Douglas (3.5)
A record that is almost too safe, yet still has plenty of highlights....

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 4th 2006


Great work.

September 4th 2006


"which comes five minutes short of forty minutes."

Why not just say 35 minutes?

Otherwise great review.

September 4th 2006


They were really great back in the day, not so much anymore.

Red Cap Brain
September 4th 2006


I was very disappointed by Kingwood. Their least good release to date. Otherwise fantastic !!! review especially the intro that got me hooked to read the whole thing. /Vote

September 4th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Nice job. I find this to more of a Rock album than a Punk/Pop-Punk album. Also, I think that when you say that they haven't evolved much you forget that their early stuff was 50% ska and 50% raw, unrefined Pop-Punk, neither of which feature on this album (with the exception, as you say, of Twist Of Hate). My best tracks are: Mooseman's Jukebox, Ray, Farewell My Hell - basically the entire album is strong, there are no poor tracks. This really expanded upon Home From Home which I thought took them away from the Poppy Punk anthems of Pennybridge. In my humble opinion the lads keep getting better.

La Revolucion
September 4th 2006


I really, really, really hate this band. But good review.

September 4th 2006


Life on a Plate and Pennybridge Pioneers will always own this. Good work though.

September 4th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

This is a decent pop/punk album with some catchy hooks. "Birdie" is the only real standout track.

Good work on the review although I don't think this is an "excellent" album.

September 5th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oh yeah I forgot Birdie, that is a great track.

La Revolucion, I don't know how you could detest this band, they are at the very least passable, no?

September 5th 2006


I've never heard any of the songs on this album, but i used to be really into them. Good Review.

Two-Headed Boy
September 5th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

*Name change whoring comment*

Thanks for all the feedback. I wasn't too sure with this review to be honest.

Zesty Mordant
September 9th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

i don't get how everyone hates on millencolin. They're a fun band who are consistenly able to write catchy and high-energy songs. Plus, Nikola Sarcevic probably has one of the most entertaining voices in punk today.

This album is pretty good too. Better than their last one. good review.

June 7th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Three? THREE?!! This surely wasn't a three when I read it before (I just read it again, great review, really top-class stuff*), you changed the rating right? To be honest, the rating doesn't really fit with the review. The review says it's a 3.5 or 4 really.

*4th paragraph, 5th line, you say 'album' where I think you mean to say 'song'.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy