It's been a three-year wait for Millencolin to finally drop the follow-up to their 2005 Kingwood album, and although the band remains the same, in the interim Millencolin's sound has undergone a sea change. Although the group's genesis dates back to the late '80s, Kingwood returned Millencolin to transformative years in the early '90s, when they latched onto the SoCal sound and began unleashing exhilarating punk discs that powered them to worldwide fame. Machine 15's title presumably celebrates the band's 15th year of recording, but finds the quartet looking forward to the future. And that future beholds a band now discovering the joys of pop music. Of course, Millencolin always had a strong melodic bent, but now they've lathered the set in harmony by double- and triple-tracking frontman/bassist Nikola Sarcevic's vocals. The set-opening title track is just about smothered in them, and is followed by the one-two punch of "Done Is Done" and "Detox." Amazingly, the hard-driving "Done" features a string quartet, which heightens the song's tension, while the latter number jumps straight into '60s-rinsed pop-punk. "Vicious Circle" is even more startling, and will leave fans torn between heading for the pit or raising their lighters in the air and swaying along with this anthemic number. More surprises are to come; "Broken World" adds a touch of '70s rock to the band's punk sound, while "Danger for Stranger" again returns to the past, but this time with a mind-blowing meld of Cheap Trick and the Clash. By now, some fans may be screaming for relief, and it's on the way, for by and large Millencolin fill the rest of the album with straight-ahead melodic punk. And melody is the key to this set, for rarely has the band so consistently hit these kinds of tuneful heights, leaving the set awash in infectious melodies and anthemic choruses. The sound, thanks to Lou Giordano's production, is absolutely electrifying, while Millencolin's exhilarating performances suggest that they're more than ready for another 15 years. With the album's themes ranging from the politically scathing to the autobiographical, the lyrics invariably resonate as well. Millencolin open an entirely new chapter in their career, and it is guaranteed to be a real page-turner.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene