A seven year hiatus would spell disaster for any other punk icons, yet the Swedish quartet make an effortless return with as much vibrant passion as ever. Prioritising the ability to produce a worthwhile album, ‘True Brew’ explores their best characteristics emerging from their 23-year back catalogue and what inspired them to pick up their instruments in the first place.
Charismatic opener ‘Egocentric Man’ presents an unashamedly cocky and disillusioned character, with a catchy chorus and rapturous riff to boot. ‘Mr Fake Believe’, a similarly scathing damnation of the artificial society fostered since they left, conveys its valuable message alongside a beautifully contemplative guitar solo.
“Focus on the things that you cherish”, advises vocalist Nikola Sarcevic throughout ‘Chameleon’, a melodic soundtrack to their purposeful appeal to realism. While drummer Fredrik Larzon drives the progress of rebellion throughout ‘Sense & Sensibility’, a lyrical condemnation of nationalist political agendas in their home country plays its heart out. “I always thought I was a tolerant man, the kind that always tried to understand,” Sarcevic despairs. Punk may have an inherent habit of berating politics, but Millencolin brave the unexplored waters of levelling with the opposition with ease.
True to their skate punk upbringing, driven title track ‘True Brew’opens on a masterful guitar dialogue while Sarcevic proclaims “I just wanna spend my time living my life on the spot.” Existential contemplation proves key, as the rousing ‘Perfection Is Boring’ brings reflective chants while ‘Wall Of Doubt’ puts words to the age old notion that opposites attract, and when they do, it can only mean trouble.
A melodic declaration of the strongest love, ‘Something I Would Die For’ defies the brief ‘Silent Suicide’ to prove Millencolin are far larger than the punk stereotypes they’ve fallen into in the past. Punchy and defiant through all its faults, ‘Man Of 1000 Tics’ is the melodic, anarchistic brother of the shamefully rushed ‘Autopilot Mode’. Closing on the stimulating "na na na”s of ‘Believe In John’, however, traditionally peppy pop punk proves the most entertaining way to close a record of a thousand facets.
Timeless, shameless and limitless punk returns as if it never left, in the safe hands of its stewards Millencolin.
’True Brew’ by Millencolin is out now on Epitaph Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)