On the third full-length record from emo rockers Out of Service, they’ve clearly got a lot on their collective minds. The Ground Beneath Me takes on weighty topics like mortality, racial prejudice, and the loss of close relationships, yet it never gets too bogged down by the heaviness of the lyrical material. The set was produced and mixed by Nathan Hussey (All Get Out), who additionally lends his vocal talents to the track called “The Fall,” and was mastered by Emmy award winner Dave Marino. The album also features key guest vocal contributions from John Nolan (Straylight Run, Taking Back Sunday) and Emery, and it feels like Out of Service have earned these worthy collaborations through their steadfast dedication to perfecting their craft. Coming off of the worthy success of their sophomore effort Burden, and a teaser single called “Shelter,” Out of Service are becoming the best versions of themselves on The Ground Beneath Me.
The album starts off on the right foot with the brooding song, “The Ferry,” a track that directly tackles mortality and imagines “payment for the ferry” as a person drifts from our world to the next. The song cleverly changes tempo into a raucous crescendo towards the end of the song that finds lead singer Mike Capuano showcasing his vocal range as he goes from a careful croon to a scream with ease. “A Moment Trapped In Time” follows the brief opener and fills the void for what this scene of music has been missing these past few years; a band that can master the soft/loud dynamic without any outside controversy. The guest vocals from Emery lend themselves well to the variety found on The Ground Beneath Me, and he meshes well with Capuano’s vocal delivery.
The steady beat courtesy of drummer Ken Bond on “Day Forty One” allows for a great, pulsating bass line from Brian McGovern to pair with intricate riffs from Teebs Williams to make for another memorable song in the band’s discography. That familiar sound of anthemic emo rock comes through the speakers brilliantly on this song, and showcases the band’s overall growth as musicians. Bond continues to showcase his steady hand on “Offshore,” while Williams’ quiet riffing in the background demands a good set of headphones to pick up on his low-key brilliance on the guitar. Capuano never shies away from taking center stage in the mix, and his improved vocal power pays major dividends on songs like this. “The Sky Fell In” follows down the path less traveled by painting with darker-toned colors and exploring the uncertainty of the days that lay ahead of us.
Other key songs like “The Fall” feature the album’s producer, Nathan Hussey, and brings some more layered vocals and harmonies into the overall mix. Out of Service give the listener a chance to breathe a bit on the ballad “Twenty Roses,” and Teebs Williams’ guitar playing takes center stage on this track that adds new layers of complexity to their third studio album. My personal favorite in the set comes from the single “What You See,” that features John Nolan’s vocal imprint all over it to make for another memorable song on the record. What the band does best on songs like this is to hone in on the emotions conveyed through the lyrics and slow-build to a crowd-pleasing crescendo towards the latter stages of the track.
The closing trio of “Tailored Lie,” the conceptual “Navigator,” and the rich imagery found on “Just A Shadow” convinced me that this band may have crafted their best artistic statement to date on The Ground Beneath Me. By filling a direct void that’s been lacking in the genre these past few years, while still staying true to who they are as musicians and people, Out of Service have taken the next dramatic leap forward with their sound.