Joining the ranks of clock-punching bands like the Waitresses, the Busboys and Mike & the Mechanics, the Service Industry examine the workaday drudgery that allows them to practice their craft on debut Limited Coverage. Cobbled together from several Austin bands — Wannabes, Diamond Smugglers, Rockland Eagles, Fire Marshals of Bethlehem — TSI adhere to comfortable pop/rock that every so often flashes some musical and lyrical bite. Wage-slave laments like "Job of Quality," "Have to Go to Work" and "They Fired Me" balance resignation and frustration, but frontman Mike McCoy — doing his best with less than inspirational subject matter — still elicits a chuckle or two with lines like "I did my job, I need my money now, to go get a 12-pack" or "My secretary thinks I'm gay." He and Julie Lowery's back-and-forth vocals give "Now Wake Up and Die" and "Valhalla" an X-like cast, and McCoy warbles like Roky Erickson on the bittersweet "Palestine." A sharp cover of the Undertones' "You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It)" and the Pixies-ish thrasher "Zippy's Lament" bolsters the album's second half, as does the amusing "Hollywood Out of Austin." TSI may have let a little too much of that workplace drudgery leach into their songs, but that's no reason to garnish their wages.
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The Service Industry
February 13, 2008 | 4:00am|