A lot has changed in the world over the past twenty-six years. The era circa 1992 was a completely different time. For one, both myself and Millencolin were in our infancy. Without listing all the other similarities between myself and the band (there aren’t any), it would remiss of me to not note how influential and successful Millencolin have been in the punk scene for the entirety of their career. From their earliest releases like Life on a Plate, to breakthrough album Pennybridge Pioneers, the four piece have been consistent in their output of punchy and catchy punk tracks. Here on their ninth studio album, SOS, the status quo has been maintained and Millencolin have released one of their more consistent recent albums.
At twelve tracks in length, SOS is a return to form for a band that has been a little hit and miss over the past decade. Following on from the goods delivered on 2015’s True Brew (itself a massive improvement on the confused Machine 15), SOS is Millencolin in their most pure, truest form. The album is consistent with its punchy punk rock beat, mixed with the relatable and at times cheeky lyrics the band have produced in the past. Opening track, lead single and album titular “SOS” is brutal from the beginning. As probably the heaviest and most upbeat of any of the album tracks, the relenting drums are reminiscent of Bad Religion. The unmistakable vocals of front man Nikola Sarcevic are at their traditional best on “For Yesterday”, as the bridge guitar hook (while simple in its structure) is almost guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
Slowing it down slightly on “Sour Days”, the chorus of the track is the most pop moment of the album; which is by no means a bad thing. It is a real hark back to late 90’s pop punk (which makes sense). “Yanny & Laurel” is the twin track to “SOS”, as the drum skins seemingly cop an absolute pounding. “Reach You” is the only true love song on the album, with its wailing hook and catchy as heck chorus proving to be a nice little fun addition to an album that had so far been quite brutal.
Following on from “Reach You”, “Do You Want War” has the fun lyrics you’d kind of expect from earlier tracks (think “Monkey Boogie” or “Botanic Mistress”), while still maintaining the essence of what Millencolin has produced over the past nine albums. It’s fun, simple, and undeniably going be great in a live setting.
As the album begins to draw to a close, the anthemic “Let It Be” pops its head up, as the listener is left imagining how good this song will be in the flesh. If I had to guess, “Let It Be” will find a spot book-ending the setlist on their upcoming world tour. The closing two tracks on the album (“Caveman’s Land” and “Carry On”) feel as if the band were asked to write tracks for the next Tony Hawk video game. They’re killer and exactly what long time fans of the Swedish band would want to hear.
While the album is a little up and down through its delivery, there’s enough going on to suggest that even after 26 years, Millencolin still know how to make a classic punk rock album. SOS may not go down as their best album, but that doesn’t matter. It’s still fun and raucous punk. And frankly, I’m fine with that. You should be too.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
SOS is available now through Epitaph Records. Millencolin will be touring nationally throughout March (dates below). For more information and tickets, head HERE.
Sat March 2nd | Metropolis, Fremantle (18+)
Mon March 4th | HQ Complex, Adelaide (18+)
Tues March 5th | 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Wed March 6th | 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) **Sold Out**
Fri March 8th | Roundhouse, Sydney (Lic A/A)
Sat March 9th | The Valley Drive In, Brisbane (18+) **Sold Out**
Sun March 10th | Soundlounge, Gold Coast (18+) **Sold Out**