What’s that? Another Millencolin album? Isn’t this their, like, 15th album or something? Ok maybe not, but it is starting to feel like these ever-faithful Swedes have access to some sort of Fountain of Youth in a remote part of Sweden as they bounce back every few years clutching a brand new batch of gleaming pop tunes with their distinctive indefatigable charm. It’s an enviable trait but with _‘Kingwood’ _it seems their years of skateboarding and large-scale touring with the likes of *Good Charlotte *is finally catching up on them.
Demonstrating a much more streamlined sound, with very little of the propensity that fuelled earlier mid-nineties classics like ‘Life on a Plate’ _– which in turn gained them so much respect in the skatepunk scene – this is a middle-aged Millencolin, one which executes their pop-rock in a measured, relaxed, _equable form. Lead track _‘Shut You Out’ _is painfully middle-of-the-road and will no doubt warm up the upper reaches of the Swedish pop charts in much the same way as Fireside’s Kristofer Astrom *and T(I)NC’s *Denis Lxyzen’s passable solo efforts (its ‘hit single’ status is confidently predicted on the small circular sticker on the front of the album before it’s very release as a single!). ‘Biftek Supernova’, despite its urgency, adheres to a pop-punk formula so tried and tested even the youngest Blink 182 fan would yawn impassively, 'Ray' is pure throw-away pop while 'Cash or Clash', a snarly Joe Strummer shout-out, seems to be the only track here worth ripping onto your Ipod.
Being such a huge fan of their early work, it’s only during the second and third listens that the feeling of disappointment reluctantly dawns, that sadly the magic that once had them soaring many miles above their contemporaries has tragically faded away, the songs that make up this album acting as nothing but driftwood in a sea of mediocrity; they clutch desperately to Nikola’s distinctive, cartoonish vocals but it’s not enough to save something so uninspiring as this.
Sorry guys, but it looks like we’re gonna have to look somewhere else for our fix of pop-punk this summer.
4Mat Hocking's Score