Nikola Sarcevic Bio
As the frontman for Sweden's beloved punks Millencolin, Nikola Sarcevic has guided that band through lauded discs like Pennybridge Pioneers and Battery Check, while amassing worldwide sales in excess of 1.5 million over the past decade. But with the advent of Lock-Sport-Krock, his debut solo album for Burning Heart/Epitaph, Nikola reveals an evocative, introspective side of himself that's an alluring, visceral departure from his primary group.
Lock-Sport-Krock shifts from stark, devotional moments to countrified nuggets while retaining a cohesion missing from most singer/songwriter efforts. From the tender strums of "Lovetrap" -- which sets the pace for a disc that focuses on themes of intimacy, adoration and heartbreak -- Sarcevic emotively chronicles a bad break-up with to the help of a lilting piano and an inspirational harmonica. Be it that number, the first single and video from the record, or the somber vibe of "Viola," a glistening, xylophone-touched look at a relationship's uncertain path, Lock-Sport-Krock asserts there's been more up Sarcevic's sleeve all along than his 100 proof punk anthems have made evident.
Yet the presence of Lock-Sport-Krock is in no way a signal that Millencolin's days are numbered. The band is in fact alive and well, fleshing out its next studio disc (expected in 2005) in between ongoing European festival dates. But in the meantime, through these thirteen tracks, Sarcevic -- who has always written personal lyrics -- gives fans a glimpse at his song craft sans fancy arrangements and, as he puts it, "extra decorations."
For the stripped down affair, which was recorded at Svenska Grammofon Studion by Mieszko Talarczyk, Nikola is aided and abetted by high-profile colleagues like Bombshell Rocks' Tomas Falk, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives' Fredrik Sandsten and the Peepshows' Henke Wind. Sarcevic and Wind also served as co-producers for Lock-Sport-Krock.
Bringing forth magical material like the lovelorn "Nobody," replete with a slide guitar shuffle or the Hollies-like, piano-plucked title cut, Sarcevic shows remarkable courage as he leaves his emotional baggage on display. The latter -- which is as close as Nikola and famous collaborators come to a flat-out rocker in the classic sense of the term -- finds the vocalist briefly stepping away from his hurt heart to mine warm memories of the fantasy soccer-team he and his older brothers "played for" in their youth.
Carefree numbers like "Mirror Man" and "Glue Girl" are nearly as exuberant, but its the desperately emotional ballad "You Make My World" that proves how hooks can come to life in the strangest of places. When Sarcevic proclaims, "I am a loser/I am so lost without you" he turns a self-deprecating chorus into the irresistible, shout-along confessional of the year.
Late album keepers like the lilting "Go Around" and the whiskey-doused country creeper "New Fool" also support the notion that Lock-Sport-Krock is no mere side excursion. It's the sound of one of today's finest songwriters branching out. Nikola Sarcevic has done what so few manage to do well -- carve his pain and life experiences into extraordinarily beautiful songs. This is a bold, bare pop record that music lovers inside and out of punk's circle can clutch onto with pride. Your ears will thank you.