Millencolin are nothing short of punk-rock royalty. Now, a mere 27 years since their inception, the band are back with their ninth studio album.
Millencolin are set to release SOS on the 15th February via Epitaph Records. Hailing from Sweden, they are one of the countries’ most impressive musical exports and they are back to prove that despite their wistfully youthful skateboard-trick coined name, that they are an ever-evolving group of musicians who still have a place in the scene in 2019.
The album opens with titular track SOS. Loose harmonies welcome us to the song before they are tossed aside by a threatening plectrum slide. From here, the track ignites in a frantic series of drum grooves and punching guitar. Bassist Nikola Sarcevic’s iconic vocals drape themselves all over this track, most notably in the breakdown. Atop of a squeezing guitar riff they stretch and contort, giving us a window into the sounds we should expect from the rest of the album. Both For Yesterday and Nothing cement this further, highlighting that the band are absolutely still capable of writing good, tight music.
The pre and post-chorus melodies of Sour Days have a Green Day-esque feel to them, a compliment of the highest order. As a whole, this track is a stand out within the album as, for me, it does something little different to the others: it is noticeably fun. There is a vibe about this one that makes me want to listen to it over and over again. It is not as haunting in sound, nor drum dependant as the rest of the songs on the album and so gives us listeners something refreshing. In a similar vein, the energy of cleverly titled track Yanny & Laurel also offers us something a little different. As it ascends to its conclusion, we are greeted by the introduction of some electronic effects playing with Sarcevic’s vocals. Once again, this gives us a stand-out moment within the dialogue of the album.
From here, the rest of the album is awash with a collection of songs that feel as though they have been heard before. There are some unforgivingly ruthless moments of thrashing energy seen in tracks such as Trumpets and Poutine and Dramatic Planet and some more intimate, crooning flashes in tracks such as Reach You but as a collection, I feel as though it continuously flickers around the same vibe. It is clear that Millencolin are very talented at what they do, but I am not sure that SOS highlights much diversity in their sound or song-writing.
When I listen to Millencolin I hear where some of my favourite band’s have coined their sounds from. Undeniable legends, I think it is fair to say that the band have produced another incredibly tight collection of tunes that only solidify their sound further. However, for me, I struggle to differentiate each song to the next. With a sound as iconic as theirs, you become a little too familiar with dynamics and signatures that you expect from the band. SOS is a good album, but will it set the world on fire? I don’t think it needs to.
SOS is released via Epitaph Records on 15th February 2019. Get your copy here.
Millencolin will also be playing at this year’s Slam Dunk as part of NOFX’s Punk in Drublic line-up. Tickets here.