It’s not rare for albums to feel like products of their time. It’s a little bit rarer for them to feel like products of times past. But that’s exactly the case with Out of Service’s debut EP. When I listen to What We Bring with Us, I think of the emo-influenced pop-punk that defined so much of the early 2000s alternative rock scene.
If you’d told me What We Bring had been released on Drive-Thru Records in 2003, I’d believe it without a thought. And I don’t say that to imply that it sounds dated at all – but, hell, the chorus of opener “For These Ghosts” could’ve been ripped from a Hidden in Plain View song. Like that band and other favorites from that era, Out of Service eschews the bright, summery feelings so often associated with the genre in favor of a darker, rougher sound. No song demonstrates this better than “The Consequence.” Kicking off with a heavy riff, the song bounces between understated verses and a frenetic, infectious chorus before ending without resolution. After the final chorus, the song quiets down to just vocals and drums, slowly adding instruments and additional vocal tracks in one by one. It feels like it’s building to one last rush, but ends with just one whisper of “she’s free now.” Lyrically, it feels appropriate and, musically, it’s nice for a song to take an unexpected turn every now and then.
It feels like a trick that a forward-thinking band like The Early November might’ve pulled, and that’s why I like Out of Service so much. While they remind me a lot of my favorite bands of yesteryear, they also sound like one who’s learned from those bands as well. Hopefully an Out of Service full-length with live up to What We Bring with Us – and then maybe one day we’ll talk about Out of Service the way we do with yesterday’s classics.