To no one’s shock, Millencolin’s ‘SOS’ sure does sound like most other Millencolin songs.
In their time together, long -running Swedish punk rockers Millencolin have covered an array of different topics. This ranges from having empathy and calling out racist shitheads (‘Sense & Sensibility‘); detailing the pains of youth and growing up (‘No Cigar‘, ‘The Ballad‘); to covering mental illness (‘Happiness For Dogs‘) and grieving loved ones (‘A-Ten‘); to even finding out your own way in life and discovering one’s purpose (‘Battery Check‘, ‘Duckpond‘ ‘Pepper‘). Oh, and lest we forget about bassist and vocalist Nikola Sarcevic’s love for of chess (more songs than I’m willing to count right now). In their latest track, however, ‘SOS‘, the theme is a distress call sent from a world gone mad with hatred, with a heavy focus on self-centredness running rampant in toxic social media landscapes.
Taken from their upcoming 2019 LP of the same – whose front cover is graced by the group’s yellow bird mascot – this latest tune has a bit of an “old man yells at cloud” syndrome occurring. As I’ve said before here on KYS, critiques of social media and such conceited natures, while sometimes accurate, are also a very in-vogue and somewhat cheap way of commenting on what the rest of us already know and think about said platforms. And yes, I am well aware of the irony here that I’m discussing this track in not the most positive of lights on the internet. No need to point it out to me, thanks.
As for the song itself, it’s not half bad. It’s classic, riff and hook-driven Millencolin through and through; from the overall form, snare roll build-ups, to the guitar slides. On one hand, I like it cause it’s more Millencolin and because I have so much love for this band. But on the other hand, that’s also the issue: it’s just simply more from the Swedish punk rock act. As there’s no getting around the fact that it does sound like most other Millencolin tracks that we’ve heard over the years. Which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because even this far into their career (26 years for those not counting), these four dudes still write decent melodic punk rock by sticking to what they know. But it’s also a curse because that means nothing progresses and makes comparisons to their older, better songs that more frequent; placing new material under a shadow from 2015’s ‘True Brew‘ and much further back releases. (‘Pennybridge Pioneers‘ is still their best album, in case you were wondering).
Regarding the music video, it shows Nikola placed awkwardly up close at times, though that’s the point; to mimic the “me-me-me” bombardment that platforms like Instagram and Twitter can play into. Yet it doesn’t make for the best watch and it also pushes the rest of the band – guitarists Erik Ohlsson and Mathias Färm, as well as drummer Fredrik Larzon – into the back of the set. Also, while no one is obviously tracking their vocal takes when they film their music videos, these up-close shots do make his lip-syncing more apparent and hard to not notice. That, as well as some tacky blue visual effects added in post, too.
Either way, you can check out Millencolin’s desperate SOS below. ‘SOS‘, the album, lands February 15th, 2019 via Epitaph Records.