The end of the year is soon to be upon us and it seems a vast array of artist’s latest work has stemmed into a deeply vulnerable personal space, which really opens up the discussion into the untameable nature of mental health issues.
Keeping this in mind the Philadelphia natives Out of Service have taken a deep dive into such subject matter in their sophomore studio album which promises to be another display of their vulnerable yet volatile musical styling’s all wrapped together in the form of Burden.
In line with the nature of the word Burden, OOS provide an emotionally unstable personality from the off that feels enshrouded and imprisoned within a literal gag order at times. The emotional frustration radiating out of the headphones speaks volumes to the struggles of bottling our feelings due to an unwillingness or lack of accessibility to speak the truth of our internal torment.
Burden's progression is one that builds on its strengths time and time again, with the odd exception here and there as well as a particular tendency to overwork and overindulge their love for a good outro that just feels a bit overcooked and long winded. Aside from its less than desirable elements its high point’s peak at such tracks are ‘Stories’ and ‘Uneasy’. The former serves us some throwback 2000’s Pop Punk Slow Jams divulging into a tragic circle of confession, with multiple entities heard singing and screaming it gives off the vibe of a therapeutic safe space where all points of view are to be listened, heard and validated by voices of reason and understanding.
‘Uneasy’ though harbours some intense Twilight soundtrack sensibilities, with a sound that can be described as an up tempo ‘Eyes on Fire’ by Blue Foundation meets ‘Prayers for Rain’ by The Cure. With its familiar yet haunting sound intertwined with shoegazing overtones, it cements itself as a wondrous pending plea of unconscious emotional vacancy that commandeers the senses as well as lends itself as an outreach for those whose lives have taken a similar turn.
As much as Burden can be viewed as a triumph for Out Of Service as a whole it is not without its faults that are very easily picked out amongst the thoroughfare of impressive musicianship. Issues include its fondness for overplaying its outros which don’t really add to the overall experience, under producing and a haphazard approach in its musical continuity on certain tracks that unfortunately stunt and stall the albums progression.
Burden’s raw and passionate energy is infectious, captivating to behold, and can whisk you away from your own understanding of the world around us while teaching us about the act of sympathy and empathy. By paying close attention to its lyrical storytelling as well as it’s easily understood instrumental cues it is not only a wonderful listening experience, but also a teaching tool in how to actually listen and hear an individual’s struggles and know how to comfort and support them the best way we can.