C’mon everyone it’s time to ‘Sound the Alarm’

The long-running ska band that needs no introduction, Less Than Jake has recently released a new EP entitled ‘Sound the Alarm.’  Let’s push play…

 

  1. “Call to Arms”-Starting things out with Roger plucking the base, quickly turns into your typical LTJ tune, helmed by Chris on the mic. Although this is more on the poppier side and the horns are a little drowned out, this is a solid way to begin the album.  Grade: B+

 

  1. “Whatever the Weather”- Playing more of a pivotal role than the previous track, the horn section is definitely front and center in this ditty. Roger rocks this tune, which is ready for immediate radio play.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Bomb Drop”-Not being able to decide who should sing on “Bomb Drop,” Chris and Roger spend equal time belting out lyrics. Once again, your standard LTJ fare, which is not a bad thing.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Welcome to My Life”- This next track is slightly slower than the previous three and leans more to the ska (vs. punk) side of things. While there is more rocking out around the 2/3 mark, this tune is just alright for me.  Grade: B

 

  1. “Good Sign”- Switching back to more of a punk with horns song, there is nothing new to the seasoned LTJ listener. That being said, they have all the ingredients for an enjoyable tune.   Grade: B+

 

  1. “Years of Living Dangerously”- I can’t put my finger on it but “Years of Living Dangerously” has a more mature sound, showing more depth than the rest of the album. I dig it!   Grade: A-

 

  1. “Things Change”- It’s easy to see why the boys used this song to promote the album. Featuring a horn line that will get stuck in your noodle, this is the best tune found on ‘Sound the Alarm.’  Two thumbs up.  Grade: A

 

The year was 1996.  This was the year that I purchased the compilation ‘Ska The Third Wave, Vol. 2’ and heard Less Than Jake for the first time.  Prior to this I had really only heard the up-tempo stylings of The Invaders and Mustard Plug (Big Daddy Multitude), so their punked up version of the ska genre was a real eye opener.  Shortly after this I purchased ‘Losing Streak’ and the rest is history.  Since then LTJ has pumped out a slew of albums, which have all been enjoyable in their own right. That brings us to their latest release, ‘Sound the Alarm.’  First of all what has always impressed me about this band is that after 20+ years as a band, their sound never sounds stale and there are no two songs that sound alike.  ‘Sound the Alarm,’ like many of their later albums has more of a polished sound then the days of ‘Pezcore’ and ‘Losers…’  What I really like about this album (as with most of their later stuff) is the sharing of vocals between Chris and Roger.  I am innately more drawn to Chris’s voice more, however, Roger adds a fun change of pace.  Musically there is really nothing new here if you have been listening to this band for any time.  This is a good thing!  Less Than Jake continues to surge on with the ska/punk brand they have honed over all of these years.  Crunchy punk guitars? Check.  Blaring catchy horn parts? Check!  As expected, due to the fact that there are only 7 tracks, there really are no filler songs.  I thoroughly enjoyed this entire album, which has filled the LTJ void until their next full length.  If you are already a fan of this band, purchasing this is a definite no-brainer.  If you are new to the ska/punk scene, this release (and/or any of their other releases) are a must have for your arsenal.

 

Overall Grade: A-

 

 

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