On the new album from the South Jersey/Philadelphia band Out of Service, they do a great job of encapsulating the feelings of living with depression, getting help, and coming to terms with living with a mental illness. The wide range of emotions that a person can go through when they realize they aren’t “feeling right” can be both shocking and heartbreaking at the same time, and Out of Service realizes this is a process. In fact, as a person like me who struggles with depression from time to time, Burden spoke to me more than I thought it would from the very first listen.
Kicking off the set with the moody “Threshold,” Out of Service makes it known that they are not your average band. They instead paint with vibrant colors filled with lush melodies and intricate guitar parts that only further accentuate the brilliant vocals found from Mike Capuano. The group picks up the pace on the immediately gratifying song, “Ash,” and features some incredible and underrated drumming from Ken Bond. The song reminded me of the loud/soft dynamic of other bands such as Taking Back Sunday, but Out of Service has created a brand of their own on Burden.
The first single, “Stories,” was released earlier this year and is an excellent example of what the band is capable of creating when firing on all creative cylinders. The track features some soaring guest vocals from Madeline Finn (Envoi), and the presence of a new voice to complement Capuano was the perfect combination to go with for an introductory single to the LP. By the time the track crescendos, you’re left wondering how a band this talented is still unsigned. The song reminds me of the passion felt when listening to American Football, but with much more straight-forward rock flair.
Other tracks of note on Burden are the guitar-pop bliss of “Chemicals,” and the title track brings the entire record into focus with its haunting vocals and carefully strummed guitars. The mix created by Nathan Hussey (All Get Out) is incredibly professional sounding, and it’s a remarkable and gripping listening experience as the entire album unfolds.
Overall, I walked away from Burden with a sense of community and purpose as I came to terms with my struggles with depression. Depression isn’t fun; it’s a brutal illness that feels like someone is setting the reset button on your brain and life. Out of Service realize these emotions and have delivered a great record that doesn’t wallow in despair. Instead, the glimmers of hope in the closer, “Tomorrow,” leave the listener with a road ahead to beat this terrible illness. By having a cohesive theme, and by seeing the messages all the way through with positive tones of hope, this will be an album I revisit quite often as the year turns over into 2020.