Review: Less Than Jake – See The Light

Review: Less Than Jake – See The Light

Less Than Jake – See The Light
Track Listing:
1.) Good Enough
2.) My Money is on the Long Shot
3.) Jump
4.) The Loudest Songs
5.) Do the Math
6.) Bless the Cracks
7.) John the Baptist Bones
8.) American Idle
9.) The Troubles
10.) Give Me Something to Believe In, Inc.
11.) Sunstroke
12.) A Short History Lesson
13.) Weekends All Year

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: November 12th, 2013
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Official Website: Less Than Jake Website

Group Background:
Less Than Jake is an early 1990s ska/punk band from Gainesville, Florida that is known for their humorous and energetic live shows. The band released their ninth full-length album on November 12, 2013 and their first in nearly five years. The punk rock veterans are known for playing with fast paced punk rock beats, moving into ska-infused rhythms with a complimentary horn section that brings diversity to their sound. One of the reasons why they have lasted so long is because they can take a genre so easy to reproduce and make their own. The band’s record resume includes releases on Fat Wreck Chords, Capitol Records, Warner Brothers Records, and No Idea Records and has a keen sense of bringing something different to each album.

Album Review:
The band reunited with Fat Wreck Chords for the new release and with the opening song, “Good Enough”, See The Light kicks off with a bang. They recorded the entire album in Roger Manganelli’s home studio and each one of them sounded extremely proud of the album when I was fortunate enough to interview them in Honolulu for The Pier.

“My Money Is On The Long Shot” and “Jump” switch between lead singer’s Roger Manganelli and Chris DeMakes. Upbeat ska guitars and Roger’s rhyme’s introduced “Jump”, that should be the single from the new album. Fans will undoubtedly hear this in LTJ’s set list for a while. Buddy Schaub and J.R. Wasilewski prove why horns are still relevant to the band’s sound. “Jump”, shows us that lead singer, Chris DeMakes can still sing with passion about independence. Fast punk rock rhythms with incremental horn blasts can make a 90s ska/punk fan think the steam engine from 1990s skater punk, is still chugging along.

They did a fantastic job of making each song different while adding profound lyrics. “Do The Math” is a fine example of how Vinnie Fiorello’s ability to master lyrics keeps getting better and is another song that is like a tough equation waiting to be figured out, coupled with smooth vibes and intelligent words. “John The Baptist Bones” is my favorite song on the album based on its high energy and danceable breakdown.

It’s a creative and musically diverse record. Less Than Jake has the ability to write albums that can be entirely heard live through a concert hall PA & See The Light almost meets that standard. However, the band has combined the sound from their 1990s punk rock days with the studio quality and radio sounding hits from their time with Warner Brothers. They have given fans what they have been waiting for with See The Light and new fans will be able to appreciate the old Less Than Jake after picking up on the new material. It does prove this band loves what they do while putting each band member’s own touch on different parts of each song.

Written & Reviewed By: Blake Taylor

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Listen: Less Than Jake – “My Money Is On The Longshot”