Millencolin - SOS (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


SOS (2019)

EPITAPH records

Millencolin's last LP True Brew was a stark reminder of a how a band can achieve unparalleled consistency over the years. Not known for getting into punk politics and drama, these Swedish punks hold so much reverence for the way they conduct their business, whether you like the music or not. And personally, they've rarely missed the mark for me. Come SOS, it's another bevy of anthems to remind you that they're not just experts in this field, they're a punk institution.

The first three songs off the cuff are the melodic bangers for fans like me who grew up hitting the replay button on "No Cigar". And make no mistake, it's tough to single out songs here because the pop/skate feel is so fucking good, it's basically easy to sum this record up as classic or vintage Millencolin and end this review. Prime examples are the title track and "Nothing" -- reinforcing that they just can't lose the magic. You pick it up as well on the more mid-tempo singalongs like "Sour Days."

Message-wise, it's the same old narrative but these perspectives address shifting climates and the sub-cultures we're now entrenched in. Family, romance, growing old from the days when the fire of youth never seemed to be something you could see burning out are touched on, and also, there are political digs to remind us how fucked the world is at the moment. Some subtle, some not as much as with "Caveman's Land" -- a song about indigenous people and colonisation. These songs are all so catchy I can picture everyone shouting along live and not caring if some of the older jams get removed off the set list to make way.

Ultimately, Millencolin is a perfect example of not reinventing the wheel yet not having it come off boring as heck. Technically, they stick to their strengths with cutting bouncy punk rhythms and what results is an array of tracks that will leave you playing this front to back. By the time the closer "Carry On" hits, you can't help but think it's a statement to themselves, insisting they'll be carrying this torch on for a bit longer, but also passing it on to the future punk generations. I mean, it's hard to not see bands taking influence from records like these, which at the end of the day, are spiritual punk experiences that are so pure, it'll take a lot of work to recapture. But as Millencolin states, half the fun is in the journey, and in trying, as opposed to the destination.