It would be a fair assumption to say that most bands have peaks, whether commercially or critically. Some bands are lucky enough to peak more than once ala Green Day with Dookie in 1994 and then American Idiot ten years later. So when it comes to a band like Gainseville’s Less Than Jake, most would assume that their apex came with 2003 ska-punk masterclass Anthem, a barrage of nihilistic life lessons, all wrapped up in sticky sweet pop hooks. Well.. that would be correct, but only in a commercial sense, as with the exception of 2006’s slightly tame In With The Out Crowd, the Florida boys have been pumping out solid records at a pretty consistent rate. So where do LTJ sit in 2017 and can they keep up the pace with latest EP Sound The Alarm?
The answer is a resounding yes as Call To Arms opens up with rumbling bass before launching headfirst into an anthemic punk rock assault complete with Chris Demakes classic self-deprecating lyrics. It sets things up nicely for the remaining tracks which feature among other things, bombastic brass parts (Bomb Drop) and room-filling choruses (Good Sign, Things Change), all bounding along with the energy of a springer spaniel pup.
Where the record really hits the sweet spot though, is on two of its more mid paced numbers. The first being the almost calypso-like Years Of Living Dangerously which combines echo-laden guitar riffs with the same degenerate unity that made The Science Of Selling Yourself Short such an instant classic. Another noteworthy track is the Roger Lima fronted Whatever The Weather, which pulses with catchy melodies, bursting into a huge refrain that sits happily alongside the bands best work.
For a band that’s been doing this for 25 years and most of whom are in their early 40’s, Sound The Alarm is brimming with the vigor and exuberance of a band half their age. Sure, it’s hard to imagine the band making rip-roaring music like this into their 50’s but then again with records like this, it’s a pretty safe bet that Less Than Jake aren’t anywhere close to being done.
Sound The Alarm is released via Pure Noise Records on February 3rd.