Millencolin’s SOS (Epitaph) has a lot going for it which is only natural as it’s the ninth full-length from a band with 27 years of experience under its belt. You also must factor in that it’s got the right amount of songs, running time and a clean and crisp mix. So far everything is coming up Milhouse, but I have a gripe.
My rub with SOS is that we can’t quite figure out the direction we’re headed. On barnburners like its opening title track or closer ‘Carry On’ we have Millencolin moving with high energy and confident tempos all the while maintaining a melodic streak; stark reminders that Punk can be volatile and tuneful without having to resort to the vile trappings of pop-Punk. Along with the confident spunk of ‘Nothing’ it takes us back to nineties heyday of killers like AFI and Bad Religion. Strange days those nineties were as we had a never-ending source of great and inspired alternative and punk, yet no real worries yet on the horizon.
When Millencolin isn’t keeping their foot on the Punk pedal the songs seem to be designed a little too keenly for radio play or broader commercial appeal. The awkward phrasing in an attempt to keep the rhyme meter and repeated dips into the big choruses of ‘Reach You’ just neuters SOS of any of the vigor set forth earlier on the record. ‘Do You Want War’ certainly suggests an adrenaline shot straight to the heart, but it quickly turns to lyrics bordering on cliché and something that wouldn’t be out of place in the Green Day catalog. And in the interest of avoiding lyrical tropes, ‘Let It Be’, while satisfying musically, can be a let down in the words department.
SOS is not a bad album by any stretch, but that said its one that’s just a bit too misguided.
6 / 10