#Review: Millencolin – SOS 🚀🆘

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Millencolin are a punk rock band from Sweden, consisting of all four original members, Nikola Sarcevic (vocals & bass), Mathias Färm (lead guitar), Erik Ohlsson (rhythm guitar) and Fredrik Larzon (drums). To date, the band have had eight studio albums and played all around the world, including at America’s prestigious Warped Tour. Now, 2019 marks the release of SOS, the band’s ninth studio album since their 1992 inception, some 27 years later! Here’s what we have to say about the record…

Millencolin - SOS.jpg

SOS kicks straight in with the intense, apocalyptic-sounding title track, gripping you with its chugging guitars and haunting vocal chants, making it instantly clear that this is very much a punk rock album and not a commercialising into the pop punk realm.

That said, there is something very commercial about the album’s glistening production; vastly different from that of some of the band’s earlier records.

Additionally, there’s actually something very traditional about this album, like Millencolin have followed the recipe for the perfect skate rock record – ‘For Yesterday’ and ‘Nothing’ are perfect examples of this and particularly reminiscent of early Goldfinger or Alkaline Trio. However, in saying this, it also demonstrates that the band have not quite made any moves to vary their sound or try to push the boundaries of the genre, though there are bound to be countless fans that will appreciate this.

‘Sour Days’ and ‘Reach You’ particularly stand out, and although some of the most “radio friendly” tracks on the record due to their big choruses, they’re possibly the most vocally and instrumentally interesting with great harmonies and pristine changes in tempo across both.

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation.

‘Yanny & Laurel’ is a good, story-telling song and interestingly named after the 2018 debate about whether a sound clip was saying the word ‘yanny’ or ‘laurel’ and is cleverly reflected with an auto-tuned chorus around the two words.

Sadly, there are some songs that just lack sincerity and would sit better on blink-182 or Green Day album (though don’t get me wrong I love both those bands), like ‘Do You Want War’ and ‘Caveman’s Land’. Both tracks have strong instrumentals but lyrically border on cringe-worthy.

‘Carry On’ really brings the album home with a strong, nostalgic-feeling chorus, which sounds almost like an audible farewell. The drums at the start, instantly draw you in and by the end of the track, it’s descended into just the right amount of chaos that you’re both satisfied and left wanting more.

Overall, SOS is a politically charged public service announcement, and takes a rather negative take on the current state of the world, even referencing the decline in society and impending end of the world as we know it. But then isn’t that what all punk rock is about?

It’s definitely a well-produced record with some strong choruses and impeccable instrumentation, however there are certainly the odd lyrical improvements and risk-taking elements that could be adopted by the band, going forward. I guess it could just be put down to, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Rating
3.5


‘SOS’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/sos/1441157359


SOS on Spotify

SOS (Official Video)

Nothing (Audio Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Millencolin’s latest album, SOS? Are you a fan? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Story Untold – Waves


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerStory Untold are a pop punk five-piece band based in Montreal, Canada, who formed back in 2012. In 2016, not long after signing to Hopeless Records, the band released their debut, self-titled EP. Now, they’re releasing their first full-length album, Waves, and here’s what we have to say about it…

Story Untold - Waves

The opening track, ‘In Or Out’, is a well-written, punchy, pop rock song with an uber-catchy, sing-along chorus that instantly had me excited for what more was to come, and rightly so…this is a very strong debut album!

Citing some of their influences as Green Day, Blink-182, Sum 41 and Fall Out Boy, it’s easy to hear how they have become the type of band they have. Think early Simple Plan meets more recent All Time Low but recorded in an even more polished way – that is this album! It’s superbly produced, filled with catchy songs and has highs and lows in all the right places.

Some of the main themes across the album include relationships and break-ups – pretty standard stuff – but the delivery is very current, with songs like ‘Delete’ referencing modern technologies (“Now you’re just a photo on my iPhone screen.”). Usually I find this sort of thing in songs a little cringe, but somehow the melodies the band have used and the conviction with which Janick Thibault sings the lyrics is so well executed that I really don’t mind it.

The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious.

Overall, this is an incredible debut and each track has their own great qualities but in my opinion, some of the best tracks on this record include; ‘In Or Out’ as it is just a fantastic opener for the record, ‘The 3ND’ has a great push in the chorus accompanied by quite choppy lyrics and varied vocals, ‘Drown In My Mind’ as it has a very intricate quality to it and ‘California’ for being a straight-up pop punk anthem (very Simple Plan-esque). To be honest it’s quite hard to pick stand-out songs as almost all of them are incredible – it’s even got your typical piano-style ballad, ‘Invisible’. The only track I thought let down the album a bit, was the last track, ‘Chasing Feelings’ – I loved the way the album began with a huge kick and I actually wanted it to end the same way; with a massive, all-out pop punk track – I felt that it was a bit of a weak end to such a great album. Other than that, it’s superb!

This is definitely an record I would love to see played live – from listening to their recording alone, you get a real sense of what their performances would be like. The band have compiled a sound, well-written, pack-a-punch, pure pop punk album…and it’s glorious – I haven’t been this excited about a new pop punk band for quite a while. With the sound they have created for themselves and the energy and buzz about them, I’m sure there will be a lot more to come from them in the future. Well done guys!

Rating
4.5.jpg


‘Waves’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/waves/1298835393


Waves on Spotify

In Or Out (Official Music Video)

Delete (Official Music Video)

Drown In My Mind (Official Music Video)

All The Same (Once A Liar, Always A Liar) (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Story Untold’s debut album, Waves. What do you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? Would you give it the same rating as us or rate it differently? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our socials.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Cyrus Bolooki from New Found Glory

With the recent release of their 9th studio album, Makes Me Sick, I had the opportunity to catch up with Cyrus Bolooki from one of my favourite pop punk bands, New Found Glory. We caught up about why the band chose the title for their latest album, which current song he’d like the band to cover, who he’d love to work with and which chocolate bar he’d be. It’s all here…


   

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Hey, how’s it going for you guys?
Going great, thanks for asking! We’re currently wrapping up our 20 Year Anniversary Tour here in the US and it’s been nothing short of amazing!

So you’ve just dropped your 9th album, ‘Makes Me Sick’ how exciting! Where did you take inspiration for some of the songs from? What’s the title of the record, in reference to?
As with pretty much all of our albums, the inspirations for our songs, both musically and lyrically, comes from within. Musically with this record we wanted to allow ourselves to explore any idea that had come to mind, which is where the extra layers of guitars and 80s-sounding keys come from, whereas on Resurrection we specifically went for a more stripped down sound and didn’t want to overdo any of the production with additional elements besides the core drums, guitar, bass, and vocals.  There was a lot more freedom this time around, which was a great feeling while writing and recording this album.

Lyrically, inspiration comes from everything around us, and you will notice a theme on this album where the beginning of the record starts out pretty critical of things going on in the world around us and relationships people may have, but by the end of the album the finger is actually pointed at the listener, challenging them to not always just criticize others without remembering to also look at themselves to see if they are guilty of the same things that they are pointing out about others. The title of the album, Makes Me Sick, is nothing more than a play on words, because we knew that it would be funny for people to literally say the phrase ‘New Found Glory Makes Me Sick’ even if they didn’t feel that way at all. It was to serve as a talking point, which is exactly what happened here!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
I honestly had been listening to a bunch of our old NFG material just before this tour, as on this tour we’re playing over 77 different songs from our first 6 full-length albums and quite a few that we had never played live before, so there was a fair amount of “refreshing” needed in order for us to pull all of this off!

Now you guys are no stranger to a cover, so if you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
I’m sure this answer will get me in trouble because it’s bound to come back and haunt me at a later time, but I personally would love to put our own spin on ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ by Taylor Swift & Zayn. I think that song would have the heaviest chorus, especially if we sped it up in the verses and then slowed it down in the choruses, typical NFG style. Plus, Jordan’s voice is high enough to hit those notes in the chorus, right? But honestly I’m sure no one else in the band would agree with me on this, so don’t expect a cover of this anytime soon!

That’s hilarious! So, you have probably had the chance to work with many people over the years, but is there anyone you haven’t collaborated with that you’d really love to work with?
As a band as a whole, I think Green Day is the one band that we all collectively looked up to and took inspiration from at one point or another in our career, so an actually collaboration with them would be sick. I’d also love to see what would happen if we were to work with some of the huge producers of the 80’s and 90’s, like Mutt Lange (who produced Shania Twain and Def Leppard amongst others) or Bob Rock (Metallica’s Black album) or even Rick Rubin (who’s done everything from The Beastie Boys to System of a Down to The Dixie Chicks and plenty of others).

Other than music, is there anything else you guys are passionate about?
We all have various interests outside of this band. Jordan is a tattoo artist when he’s not on the road with us, Ian is probably one of the biggest baseball/sports fans and collectors out there, and Chad’s a huge movie buff. My passions vary from music production to even selling real estate, but I’m also very passionate about being a dad when I’m not on the road. Most of us in the band have wives and children, and we try as hard as we can to balance between family life and tour life, and although it’s one of the hardest things to deal with while in this industry, it’s also one of the reasons why we’re all able to still be doing this 20 years later, because we all understand and appreciate each other, both professionally and personally.

What really grinds your gears?
I’m a perfectionist, so that’s a good and bad thing, and I don’t like it when things don’t work out as I expect or want them to. Lots of [the] time that just puts extra pressure on me for no reason, but in the end I think it makes me better at what I do and I’d rather spend my life trying to be the best I can be rather than just letting everything coast by without caring if it’s good or not.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
I’ll answer this on behalf of everyone else. I didn’t see it but pretty much everyone else in the band recently saw “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and said it was amazing.

If a film was made about your lives, who would you want to play you?
That’s a hard question to answer, because you can go different ways with it…would I go for an actor who’s well-known for being able to perfectly translate any role they’re given (like Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio)? Or would I just settle for someone that looks like me (might be a stretch, but how about Robert Downey Jr.?). Actually, now that I’ve let my facial hair grow out in the past few years, I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan from The Walking Dead) would be a great person to cast for me…

If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Butterfinger all the way. Snickers a close second.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t remember where I first heard it, but I have always followed the ideology that you should take chances and go for it if you think it’s right for you, because nothing’s worse than living with regret. I’ve been guilty of not only following that, but also ignoring that a few times, and it’s true that to this day I still regret certain things that I either did or didn’t do when now looking back I realize I should have given them a chance. Also, that’s how I ended up being in NFG. Not too long after we all got together, we were presented with a choice — do we continue to play shows and write music as a hobby, or do we put our “normal” lives on hold and really give this a chance to see what could happen? For me, that choice meant giving up scholarships and dropping out of school, much to my parents’ dismay, but obviously I made the right choice, and I remember telling myself that the opportunities we were going to have would probably never come to me again, so at that time it was “now or never,” and if I turned it down I would probably regret it for the rest of my life.


New Found Glory‘s releases are all available:


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