Originally formed in 2002, Out of Service has reunited for their What We Bring With Us EP, out this Friday. While the center of the band’s sound still reflects the state of pop punk in the early 2000s, there is certainly nuance and variation that comes with age. This makes these songs accessible to nostalgic and modern audiences alike.
As teenagers, “we started out playing little shows in people’s garages, backyards, and basements. We even had a local hit that basically started out as a joke song about the restaurant Perkins. To this day, 15 years later, we cannot escape requests for ‘Perkins’ when we play live.” Before the initial breakup Out of Service saw multiple changes in both style and members so when guitarist Bryan Williams began bringing up the idea of a reunion, the decision was made that it would either come together with the complete original line-up or not at all. In this way, the band is now able to show how much they’ve truly grown. “We are all in or about to be in our 30s, have careers, and some of us have children. Life is a lot different than when we were 15, writing songs about Perkins and our latest breakup. We have to schedule practices weeks in advance. Those major life changes allow each of us to bring a new perspective to the band that we couldn’t possibly have had years ago.”
After so much time, coming back together was understandably a building process. “It took a few practices for things to truly click” and while none of the first songs to be written made the cut for the EP, persistence was key. “What we ended up with were songs that kept our band’s pop-punk and emo foundations from the early 2000s, but brought in a more dynamic style.” While they are no longer singing in cliché, the thematic content remains true. “What We Bring with Us is still about human relationships, but not in the same way. Instead of focusing on heartbreak, the themes of these songs are forgiveness, redemption, regret, nostalgia, and a little bit of revenge.”
Vocalist Mike Capuano takes on most of the lyrical duties, using already developed instrumental sections to test and work through lines before finalizing his wording choices. “The overarching message is definitely about appreciating the moments you live each day, letting go of the past, and keeping the important relationships in your life moving forward.” While each song may not hit on the exact same ideas, they are all related and flow together in a cohesive manner. The first track deals with repairing a friendship between band members, while “Hear the Sound” “is about our band getting back together and wishing we had more appreciation for our first go at this all those years ago.” The next track breaks from the biographical as it follows the story of a girl dealing with emotional abuse from her family on her own terms.” Finally, in an emotionally charged closer, “‘Left Unsaid’ is about Mike and his father, who died in 2009 before they were able to break a decade’s long silence. The song is incredibly personal and asks the questions to which Mike knows he will never get answers.” While their audience may not have experienced any of these exact situations, the band believes that the songs will be ring more truly and strike a deeper chord than anything released during their first iteration.
Whereas Out of Service’s message is clear, their sound itself is more of a challenge to define. “Whenever someone asks, ‘Who do you sound like?’ we all struggle with an honest response, and the variation between the songs on What We Bring with Us almost makes that problem worse.” Sometimes not heavy enough for a hardcore crowd, too emo for a pop punk crowd, or too poppy for an emo crowd, the band has put a lot of thought into the best way to present themselves during this comeback. “We actually had some really serious group texts about the track order on the EP and which song to preview online first because we didn’t want to turn off people who may not like one genre or another.” In the end they believe, because of all the genre-bending going on, any fan of music will be able to find something to enjoy in these four tracks. “You can point to a song or a part of a song and say that it sounds like this or that, but no one track fits neatly into a box. We believe, or at least we hope, that by blending these sounds together we keep people coming back to this record no matter what they are in the mood to hear.”
So near to release, there is an air of excitement within the band. “The EP has been in the works for a long time so we are glad to finally be able to share it with people.” With no plans to slow down the band is focusing on getting their music to as many ears as possible, booking shows, and starting the process of writing new songs, already looking towards their next release.