REVIEW: Less Than Jake – ‘See The Light’

lessthanjake

Artist: Less Than Jake
Album: See The Light
Genre: Ska, Punk
Label: Fat Wreck Chords

Considering all of the crap that people give ska and its sub-genres nowadays, we really miss out on how fundamental and influential the genre has been on today’s punk scene. Among the many ska-punk bands who have come and gone over the past several years, Less Than Jake have remained in the land of the living for 21 years, and as of this month, have now put out their ninth album, See The Light.

The truth is, LTJ have never completely deviated from their signature formula, and that’s no different here on See The Light. Highly-energized upstroke riffs? Check. Skank-inducing horns? Check. Punk-flavored harmonies? Check. Positive and forward thinking lyrics? You better believe it. Rather than interchanging different elements of their albums, LTJ have always just scaled back and increased different aspects. This is something that most would claim is their label’s doing, but I’m not going to go into that, because we’ve all heard that by now. But what I will say is that I had good faith that the future of this Gainesville, Florida band was in good hands when they had announced their signing to one of the most trusted names in punk music: Fat Wreck Chords.

It was a relief to hear that the production of the record is neither too polished to the point of sounding fake, or even sounding like it was recorded off of some ghetto-rigged equioment on of a shoestring budget, because punk music should never, and I repeat ever sound glossy, and bands of this size should never try that hard to the point of sacrificing genuine quality when it’s obtainable. Instead, a genuinely suitable middle-ground was found.

As far as standout tracks go, it’s the more mature and reflective tracks that have stolen the show, and they’re all conveniently placed at the opening, middle, and end of the record. “Good Enough” kicks See The Light into gear while greeting the listener with some familiar ska-horns and signature guitar riffs. Midway through, “The Troubles” brings a new life to the album’s flow with its addictive singalong chorus. At the end, “Weekends All Year Long” finishes things off on a strong note, but not without encapsulating the emotional highs and lows that run consistently throughout the album.

Bear with me on what I’m about to say, but it should go without saying that just as always, Less Than Jake have done a great job at putting out a Less Than Jake album. The only problem with that is that outside of the change in lyrical direction and maturation, there doesn’t seem to be much of a change in the band’s sound. Instead, things are left within safe limits.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Reviewed by: Adrian Garza (follow him on Twitter)

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