Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  Pennybridge Pioneers  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  This would be Four Sponge Review, except that i am creeped out by the fact that they are Norwegian.  

I have a soft spot in my heart for stupid, energetic Punk Rawk. This is what causes me to continually buy the "each more boring than the last" Bad Religion releases. And Green Day, Face To Face, and Down By Law. After a while, it pretty much all starts sounding the same, with certain elements blended together:

  1. crunchy powerchords with very little solos
  2. the few solos that there are are mercifully short
  3. driving, kick-heavy/cymbal-light drumming
  4. fast plunked bass riffs
  5. screaming
  6. lyrics largely about how "gurls don't understand" with ...
  7. the occasional nod to "punk ethos" like anti-capitalism, pro-environmentalism, etc. [Not to imply that i think these people are insincere, but after hearing so many songs about "The Man" one has to question whether or not the singer really feels opposed or is he just saying things to hit a "target market"? Oh, i am soooo cynical....]
So Punk is, for the most part, as formulaic as mid 70's Power Rock or 80's Hair Metal. This is, i think, a fact of life. Innovation is HARD, which is why so few people actually do truly original things [See: Godspeed You Black Emporer!].

And that is how things should be. Most people spend their lives plodding around in plainly marked territory, recombining the same A -- G -- E powerchords over and over again. This can still make for some damn good songs. However, if it has already been established that you would rather listen to a guy with thick sideburns and a southern drawl rant about "the man" over slide guitars rather than a bunch of short-haired guys scream a similar rant over fast paced power chords, then, well, you're not gonna find anything to draw you to this.

If, on the otherhand, those short-haired dudes ranting about the malaise of the suburban experience speak to YOU, then you might get something out of Pennybridge Pioneers.

Now, with the preliminaries aside let's talk about Millencolin!

This album sounds like a typical SoCal punk disc. It's crunchy. It's bouncy. It'll get ya pogoing around your apartment much to the annoyance of the downstairs neighbors! And then on one song you realize you can't understand some of the words. And the singer is ranting about hanging with "Dieter". And you think, where are these guys from? Orange County? San Diego? Berkeley? Nope. Nor, for that matter, Columbus, Miami, Boston, NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, or any other "Punk Mecca" you can name. They are from a small town outside of Oslo. That's in Norway baby, you know, one of those cold countries where skiing was invented not as a recreational activity, but rather as a necessary means of transport during that half of the year when the country is covered in snow.

As i have already stated, the genericization of music is a natural part of life. So these guys are from Norway and yet they make this music which, over years of experience, i have learned to associate with the existential boredom of American Suburbia. Fine, so we exported another commodity to Europe. So why am i scared? Why do i feel cheated? Greg Gannin, why hast thou forsaken me? I mean, this disc could have been made by Bad Religion eight years ago. And yet, it was made now by Norwegians in the style of Bad Religion. Creepy really. And depressing on the same level -- heck, i can't figure out how to play guitar anywhere near that style, and here are some people who can do it DEAD ON and they even speak a different LANGUAGE than the people who wrote it in the first place! Sigh....

Sour grapes aside, this is a solid disc. It is classic SoCal punk, with a firm dash of melody layered over the guitars. It's fun. It's listenable. It will fill the void in your life left when you finally overplayed that last Face To Face album and got sick of it.

But it breaks no new ground. And it probably won't make any converts.

Related Links:
  None available.  

Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.