Service Industry – Calm Down

January 01, 1970

(SausPop Records)



The Service Industry have been knocking around
Austin since 2006 and are composed of 5 guys and a gal, all seasoned vets and
wise-guys of the music industry. Collectively they’ve been in more bands than
there is space to list, but include Dumptruck, Spoon and the Wannabes, to name
a few more notable ones. I counted 28 bands they’ve played in, and they say
this is their favorite. Their thematic name is due to their obsession, it would
seem, of suffering the indignities of laboring in low-paying day jobs to make
ends meet while attempting to support their musical addiction. If you’ve ever
worked at a shitty job you totally hated, these guys share your pain as well as
sing about it. They’re everyman, working class heroes and they’re singing your
song with very melodic, hooky and anthemic style.


This is smart music for smart people, then, likeable
from the git-go, and with additional listenings the lyrics grab you and you
appreciate them on a new level. These guys fit into that rarified designation
of “Best Bands You’ve Never Heard Of.” Calm
, their fourth album, is fine power-pop that covers ground previously
tread by the likes of Husker Du, The New Pornographers, the Hold Steady and
early Lemonheads, but critics find the band decidedly tough to pigeon-hole.
Other artists like the Pixies, the Replacements, Cheap Trick, Cracker, The
Byrds, Apples In Stereo and Nick Lowe have been invoked. The music styles ARE
diverse, but always enjoyable. Actually, I’ve endured one of the worst ‘ear
worm’ invasions from the song “This Town Makes My Skin Crawl” that I’ve ever
had. It’s been stuck in my head for two days straight. Talk about infectious


“Walking Down the Street (Looking Like A Flower)”
recalls Wire’s “1 2 X U” chant and parallels the tune to a degree. Title song,
“Calm Down” is quite like a lost Bob Mould gem from his Sugar years. It
ponders, “Who knows why they shot that guy, these Jesus freaks give me the
creeps.” One song that breaks from the pack is “Loudon Wainwright, AZ” with its
spoken word auctioneer-calling through a distorted megaphone. I thought of
Byrnes & Eno’s “The Jezebel Spirit” coupled with Mark E. Smith. Overall, a
tad annoying, but the only distraction on an otherwise strong album.


Standout Tracks: “I Suppose So”, “This Town Makes My Skin Crawl”,
“Calm Down”, “Socialite” BARRY ST. VITUS





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