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New Music from Austin, TX

The Service Industry

Review by Jude Huzicko

In the 70s and 80s, Bruce Springsteen and John (Cougar) Mellencamp became champions for the working class through songs that people could relate to. The lyrics were about the life and times of rural American society, and it’s not surprising that they were forever adopted into American culture as the voice of the blue collar.

Enter “The Service Industry,” an indie rock band out of Austin whose latest album, “Keep the Babies Warm,” showcases their diverse sonic influences and ability. They are an act with definite opinions, and I wish that I could’ve spoken with them before writing this to pick their brain. I will be the first to admit, on first listen, it all seemed a bit forced. But after reading about them more, and listening more, the earnestness of their lyrics began to shine through. They are a collective of ideas and ideals on the state of the nation who has managed to put to words and harmony thoughts and feeling we all have; no-holds barred, no B.S., take it or leave it riffs and rhythms that make their music easy to relate to. There isn’t anything false about their music, it comes from the heart and soul. “The Service Industry” is empathy for all the blood and sweat and angst and doubt we all feel.

The album runs the gamut of sonic appeal that for ultimately comes together in “Liquid Meat Into a Form,” an utterly melancholy, delightful harmony between Mike McCoy and Julie Lowery that is both hard-hitting and delicately beautiful. The track is jumps out as a sound to be reckoned with and demands the attention of the listener, at first for the subtle crashing kettle and classic strumming sound of a lazy summer day in the south, combined with endearing vocal harmonies. But then, as you delve deeper into the song, it stirs something inside of you that makes you want to take action. And that is the sign of a great song or great album, the one that moves the listener, whether it’s hurt, love, anger, disbelief, sadness or anxiety. “Keep the Babies Warm” will almost definitely move the listener to one of these areas, most likely all of them.

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