When it comes to simple immediacy and a dose of melody you can’t do much better than the punk bands of the ‘90s.
While Millencolin aren’t always the first band that people associate with the genre, they’ve consistently released strong albums since 1992, tweaking their sound with each new release, reflecting a band that’s willing to experiment rather than rest on its laurels.
True Brew, the band’s eight studio album is still in the mould of their previous efforts, but brings their influences to the fore. The opening track, ‘Egocentric Man’ is a definite nod to Bad Religion with its simple galloping guitar rhythms and choral sections, and it works incredibly well.
Elsewhere there’s evidence of the band trying new things, such as on ‘Autopilot Mode’ which deals with issues of apathy and self-preservation, while occasionally swerving into sounding like a pirate’s sea-shanty.
At times the lyrics on True Brew might seem a little stereotypical, including living your own life in ‘True Brew’, but there are also more personal and politically-minded issues on show, such as alcoholism/drug addiction in ‘Mr. Fake Believe’ and tackling nationalist and racist attitudes in ‘Sense & Sensibility’.
As a whole, True Brew is incredibly well produced, particularly for a genre where lo-fi (and sometimes low quality) sound is commonplace. Every element - whether it’s Nikola Sarcevic’s vocals and bass, Mathias Färm and Erik Ohlsson’s guitar work or Fredrik Larzon’s solid drum beats – comes through just right, which is an impressive feat considering the band produced the album themselves.
Going into listening to a Millencolin album you probably have a good idea of what to expect, hooky choruses, straightforward but appropriate rhythms and all of the other hallmarks that have allowed them to stand the test of time.
True Brew is far more evolution than revolution, showcasing a band that knows what they do and that does it well. With their latest album Millencolin have avoided the trap of following new trends, after all that would hardly be the punk thing to do.