Coming out of North San Diego County, No Service is an alternative rock band with a mission to flesh out the ills of modern society. Their mission statement is: “To make the world a better place, through music and action”. Whether they achieve that ambitious calling, remains to be seen. What, however, is totally clear right now, is that this 5-piece band has given us one heck of an explosive project with their smashing EP, “No Service Band”. The lyrics are distillations of sociocultural scrutiny, the music visceral and powerful. You’ll hear the roar and rush of screaming guitars, and the surge and storm of driven rhythms.
No Service is made up of Cole Connolly (vocals), Seth Dignan (lead guitar), Joao Vincent Lewis (drums), Jose Sanchez (bass), and Dave Castro (rhythm guitar, songwriter). This isn’t a band that only impresses through sonic aggression, or lyrics that speak to universal truths, or inventive melodies, or even being thematically cerebral in their approach; everything from the crushing guitars to the urgent rhythms, the belted vocals and the balls to wall production, smacks of intentional effort and ambition.
There’s no getting around the fact “No Service Band” is an incredibly powerful and affecting album. No Service kick off the show with racy onslaught of “Algorithm”, which explains how – for good or bad – algorithms determine every aspect of our lives.
The song presents an immediate ‘full immersion’ experience of the high energy sound provided by No Service. Unadulterated guitar-driven alternative rock music has been hard to find during this decade, so it comes as a pleasant surprise to discover this recording on the very eve of the upcoming decennium.
“Russian Bot”, brings not only fiery guitar work and an insistent drum beat by timekeeper, Joao Vincent Lewis, but also an anthemic, chanting-styled vocal hook that will have you joining into the mantra, as No Service uncover the idiosyncrasies of the software applications called ‘bots’ – short for robot.
Dave Castro’s sublime, angular guitar down-strokes follow the smooth confidence of Jose Sanchez’s basslines, and Cole Connolly sings with determined delivery and dramatic flair on “Scorpus”. Here No Service juxtaposes an ancient roman chariot racer’s lifestyle-ethic, with that of the everyday person in today’s society. The exhilarating rhythm pulsates with great basslines and guitar interplay.
“Monster In The Mirror”, which explores the theme of existentialism, is probably the most accessible and catchiest track on the EP. Here again, we find Seth Dignan’s lead guitar, and Cole Connolly’s vocals shining as brightly as ever.
The track harbors a killer chorus that you could easily singalong to. The visceral punch of the thematic content is backed at every turn by ear-warming melody among serrated riffs and perspicuous percussion.
No Service close the EP down with the marching beat of “4th Place Trophy” – both a tongue in cheek, and sharply acidic look, at “the art of losing and making excuses”. This kind of bold, honest, and passionate songwriting, is what will drive so many guitar loving music geeks towards No Service.
Moreover there’s something vital about caring enough about society, and one’s own craft, to make lasting statements as poignant and penetrating as those found on “No Service Band”. This is an all-round magnificent rock record for our times.
The EP was recorded at California Sound Studios with Frank Wright, prior to the Covid pandemic.