Millencolin not evolving, uses familiar formula for Kingwood
April 25, 2005 —
The promotional poster for Kingwood starts with the big, bold headline, "Forget what you thought you knew about Millencolin!" What this implies is that the new album from these Scandinavian rockers will be revolutionary, unforgettable - or at least different. Well, sorry to disappoint, but the disc serves up more of the same.
Not that this is a bad thing; those Millencolin boys have been churning out exceptional punk rock for thirteen years. With a steady string of critically acclaimed albums behind them, why mess with the formula now?
A lot of bands progress with each album, finding a more mature sound as they grow older. In recent years, we've seen the youthful vibrancy sapped from bands like Supergrass and the Old 97s; even chart-toppers Green Day have tweaked their trademark sound.
But Millencolin, fronted by vocalist/bassist Nikola Sarcevic, is not about to abandon what gave it its fan base.
In actuality, Millencolin (whose name comes from a variation of the skateboarding term Melancholy) switched things up with its 2000 effort, Pennybridge Pioneers, when it practically dropped the punk and ska influences from its sound (and the occasional silliness as well) and focused on serious, straight-ahead rock.
Kingwood continues in this vein, though this latest collection of songs includes a few moments that hint at a time when Millencolin was more punk-oriented. Songs like "Novo" and "Simple Twist of Hate" especially are harder than anything on the handful of previous Millencolin discs. But for the most part, Kingwood is just all-out rock with punk leanings that is catchy and fun.
Despite the occasional forays into old school punk, Millencolin hasn't gotten entirely political. The lyrics to its songs are still fairly light and occasionally nonsensical (see "Biftek Supernova" for the lines, "I had a dream last night, a dream about a bear, dancing in a trench coat, hat and vest"). At times they're even inspirational, as Nikola sings, "You're free to be all that you want to, so don't ever let your dreams pass by" in the second track, "Birdie."
None of the songs on Kingwood fails to please.
So while Millencolin might not be evolving much these days, they are still experts at crafting speedy, memorable, likable songs. Even though they are growing up, these guys are not quite ready to let their music grow up with them.