Wednesday, April 12

Less Than Stellar

Hey hey folks! Just an EP today, real busy.

Artist: Less Than Jake
Album: Absolution for Idiots and Addicts

Comments: I have no love of major record labels. I believe major labels see bands as a way to target a new demographic and nothing more; that albums are nothing more than a comparison of profit margins to produce successful fiscal quarters. And I am ok with this, because as much as I believe music should be about art and expression and beauty and soul, I realize that music is a business. I guess I'm a sellout, as the punk rock kids might say.

I'm guessing that they would call Less Than Jake sellouts as well. For those unfamiliar with this particular group, I'll give a brief history. Less Than Jake is a ska band from Gainesville Florida who were part of the third wave ska invasion of the early and mid 90s. From their humble beginnings on "Pezcore" to their most recent release "Anthem" Less Than Jake has used their high energy, off key harmonies, blazing horn section and brash indifference towards adulthood to build a loyal fan base. They received some backlash with the release of "Anthem" because of its departure from their signature ska sound, relying more on pop punk guitars and hooks. They were on a tightrope, dangling between their old fan base and the potential for new fans.

With that position in mind, they released "Absolution for Idiots and Addicts". This EP sounds like an attempt to please both the old ska kids and the new pop punkers. The first track (entitled "Overrated (Everything Is)") and the last track ("The Rest of My Life") seek to draw in new listeners. These songs sound more like Bowling For Soup than Less Than Jake, but are easy on the ears and will draw in the alienated youth market that is so important these days. With their simple chord progression and catchy hooks they almost scream for radio play.

The other two tracks ("Negative Side of Optimistic Eyes" and "We, The Uninspired") shoot to appeal more to the hardcore LTJ fan. "We, The Uninspired" especially, which has the kind of ska riffs, rocking horns and jumpy walking bass lines that LTJ fans haven't heard since their earliest days. These two even have better song writing; here they sound more like the Loser Kings they are, as opposed to whiny teenagers they sound like on the other two tracks.

I never bother with EPs usually, but Less Than Jake and I have a history together. The goal of an EP is to get people excited for the new CD. While it didn't particularly excite me, I believe Less Than Jake will expand their fan base more than they will hurt it if this EP is any indication of the album.

OVERALL RATING: 2.5 out of 5
WORTH THE MONEY: Nope, wait for the CD. Or just go to myspace and listen there.
KEY TRACKS: "We, The Uninspired"


(This EP is shit. Absolute shit. I know i said all that other stuff in the review, and I stand by what I said. What I say now, I do not say as an objective music critic, but as a longtime fan of Less Than Jake and their music.

What the fuck did I ever do to deserve this? I forgave "Boarders and Boundaries", chalking it up to FatWreck thinking maybe they just didn't know how to make a ska album so they tried to focus on other parts of your sound. I forgave "Anthem" which had maybe four good tracks on it because I believed you were still able to produce good music. Then I get this EP. The first track on this godforsaken EP is fucking Anthem by Good Charlotte. I shit you not. Where do you get off LTJ, making fucking Anthem part 2??!?! I know you want new fans, and I know your sound has changed, but god damn! If not for We, The Uninspired I would have no hope for this new album.

I am hoping that this is all a cruel joke. If this new LTJ sounds anything like this EP, i don't know how much longer I can call myself a fan. I'm running out of excuses for you now. I'm afraid that it might be time for me to just say a band i used to love is just not good anymore. And I hope that isn’t the case.)

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