Wow. I don’t know if anyone listening to the band’s breakthrough album Pennybridge Pioneers in 1996 would have dreamed that Swedish punkers Millencolin would still be a going concern nearly a quarter of a century later. Probably not even the band. But here they – and we – are, with a new album, the largely enjoyable SOS, and it’s another set of cheery, chirpy, cheeky pop punk lined up for our delectation.
In truth not a great deal has changed for the band since those halcyon days way back when – they are a bit more polished now, a bit safer for sure (it’s hard to imagine the Foo Fighterish Reach You appearing on an album like Life on a Plate) – but overall they still deliver a good time for those with ears willing to hear.
Opener SOS is nicely metallic, with vocalist Nikola Sarcevic sounding a bit like Audrey Horne’s Torschie, but for the most part the album runs a furrow through the late nineties Epitaph sound we all know and love. Oh for the days of the Burning Heart sound! But that’s just an old punk croaking into his cider – seriously, if you like undemanding punk rock choc full o’ singalong choons then there’s nothing about SOS you ain’t gonna love. Do You Want War is the poppiest punker in the pack, whilst Trumpets & Poutine comes across like a young Bad Religion – you know the drill by now, surely?
The band certainly do, and they ain’t deviating from the blueprint. You’ll either applaud this or find it slightly stultifying; either way you can’t blame the band for sticking with a winning horse, and SOS definitely sees this old baseball-capped nag heading for the winners enclosure again (that’s enough horse racing – Ed.). Hard to fault, easy to love. That’s Millencolin all over, right?
SOS is out now.