SOS: A Challenge To the Dark – ep reviewSOS – A Challenge To The Dark EP (Unsigned/White Noise Glasgow)

Out Now

SOS (Strawberry Ocean Sea) could be the new saviours of rock ‘n’ roll with their exciting big sound, Chris Hearn listened to their new EP.

This EP sounds absolutely grand! Full, rich and dynamic! There are five songs worth of grandness here! Oh so grand! I suppose grand is an odd and old fashioned word. But, SOS has a very big, full, larger than life sound…you know, grand! The guitars, drums, keyboards, bass, all meld as if one cannot function without the other, coming together to make one GRAND, developed and mature sound.




So, what do I know about SOS? Not a whole lot. I know SOS is made up of Jonny Skinner on lead vocals and guitars, Greg Kenney on guitars, Richie Bell on bass and vocals, Stuart Kennedy on keys and the singularly named Cobo on drums. I know they are from Glasgow. I know they are unsigned. Well, they are “signed” to a micro label: “[White Noise Glasgow] is a small independent record label and management for Glasgow band SOS.” Oh, and they have a club night called ‘Under the Moonlight’ (which is also the name of a song off this EP). They didn’t send much info with the music and I’m used to these long PR kits that come with an album. There isn’t one here! I guess the music is supposed to speak for itself, which it most definitely does.

“A Challenge To The Dark”:

Who would I compare SOS to? They have a Cure/Smiths/Joy Division/U2/Muse hybrid super monster thing going on. Get the idea? It’s not a completely original sound, but at the same time it’s difficult to pinpoint one band that they sound like. They sound like SOS!

Is this EP good? Yes, this EP is good. No, actually, make that great. These guys have something special going on. It always amazes me when I hear a band that sounds this developed, this confident, this together and find out that they are unsigned. How does this happen? Maybe this EP will change that. It should. I love Skinner’s deep, dark baritone voice and how well the backing vocals compliment it. His voice has an interesting warble in it and at times quite a thick Scottish accent, especially on the almost Buddy Holly-ish, football chant-ish “Carry On Suzie”.

SOS is almost arena rock in their scale. They are a band that should be opening for someone like U2 and fill arenas with this dynamic sound. I can imagine a crowd of thousands singing these songs – girls with lust in their eyes watching them, then waiting back at the tour bus to get their autographs, talking way too fast and giggling a lot when they meet them, then going home and listening to their SOS albums all night long.

So, what is the buzz in the press? The Scottish Sun says they are “unsigned superstars”. I can’t argue with that. The Metro says “truly original and destined for very big things”. Destined for big things, yes, but truly original? It’s hard to be truly original. And The Sunday Mail describes them saying “…sweeping vast sound that marks them out as a band destined for the top.” BINGO! To me, this is the best description. Big, grand, vast, full….these are words that stand out for me when I hear SOS.

If they play their cards right and labels listen up and pay attention, SOS have a firm shot at the big time. They have a sound that can draw mainstream success while still maintaining indie, hipster coolness. It shouldn’t take long for them to get signed to a good size label, and it shouldn’t take that long to start rising to the top once that happens. Yes, they really are that good. They are that talented. They are that developed. They are that capable. Get in on the ground floor, this elevator is going to the top! (Sorry, ended that on a cheesy note. Sometimes a reviewer just has to do that.)

A Challenge to The Dark is out now. You can get it from Big Cartel for just 5 pounds or download it from iTunes. Check SOS out on Facebook and Twitter. They are also on Soundcloud and YouTube! Like I said, I feel it down in my bones that these guys are going to get big. Listen up!




All words by Chris Hearn. You can read more from Chris on LTW here.

Previous articlenew band of the day : Noise Agents
Next articleInca Babies ‘Deep Dark Blue’ – album review
Deep in the heart of Canada, on the north shore of frigid Lake Superior, is a town called Thunder Bay. That\'s where I am from. That\'s where I started to write. And that is where I started to discover music. Now, I\'m a married man with two boys. I still love music. I still go to shows. And I still visit Thunder Bay, even though I haven\'t lived there for many years. What will you find on my iPod? You\'ll find lot of Americana, classic country, heavy stuff, punk and plenty of “guilty pleasures”.


  1. They sound far too much like U2 for my liking. Oh and Simple Minds. Although there is some Bunnymen in there too for a bit of redemption.

  2. Saw this band many times (next time being this Saturday) and they blow me away and get better every time. Great review mate… spot on! ;)

  3. LUV your music been passing it on in toronto and ontario keep it up nice that you keep your accents soooo good anne xo


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here