Review by Shannon Shumaker
Less Than Jake have found a new home on Pure Noise Records, and if their new EP Sound The Alarm on the label says anything, it’s that they certainly haven’t forgotten who they are. Twenty-five years together have treated this ska/punk band well, and they aren’t holding back on this release, even if it is only a short seven songs in length.
The band comes out swinging on opening track, “Call To Arms,” with a high energy, bass and guitar driven sound and absolutely massive chorus. With a sound that can only be described as timeless Less Than Jake, they prove that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon, and just when you think the opening song can’t get any better, the horns come in on the bridge, followed by a flawlessly executed key change. Less Than Jake are simply a well oiled machine, and the following six songs only prove that again and again.
The go with the flow second song, “Whatever the Weather” feels sonically different than the opening track, but content-wise, their confidence is unwavering, which makes sense considering the powerful line, “No matter the weather/I’ll never waver.” In fact, smart lyricism and songwriting can be found on just about every single song on the EP. The following track, “Bomb Drop” is about going out, getting what you want and making things happen for yourself. Lines like, “Time never waits for you/Time will never stop,” and “You can’t keep waiting for the bomb to drop/And hope everything just stops,” are inspirational and delivered against high energy, punchy instrumentals.
From there, things become a little more human and emotional on “Welcome To My Life,” a powerful middle track to really drives the themes of the EP home. Delivered with an upbeat tone and Less Than Jake’s trademark ska infused punk sound, Sound The Alarm is incredibly introspective, but without feeling too serious.
Following “Welcome To my Life” is “Good Sign,” which touches on taking things as they come and quite possibly the band’s growth over the years, especially in the repeated line, “Its never felt this way before/And we took it as a good sign.” Then comes the slower “Years Of Living Dangerously,” which features some of the best vocal work on the EP, before the powerful final track, “Things Change,” which really drives home the themes of the album while providing some of the EP’s strongest songwriting. Fast-paced drums and incredible bass work spearhead the song while the horn section and simplistic yet honest lyricism rounds it out.
At its core, Sound The Alarm is a feel-good album, and why wouldn’t it be? Twenty-five years in the making, Less Than Jake are still churning out creative, introspective and most importantly, catchy as hell songs like the seven tracks found on this EP, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Listen to "Bomb Drop" or "Things Change"
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