Ska Punk is nothing new, in fact the genre has been around for a little while now. Just like any other genre out there, there is a band or musician that becomes synonymous with it. For ska punk you cannot really talk about it without mentioning Less Than Jake, a band that is now celebrating 25 years of creating music. There is no better way to celebrate that feat than to release a brand new extended play and that is exactly what the band has done with “Sound The Alarm.”
Less Than Jake are based out of Gainesville, Florida and their origins can be traced all the way back to 1992. In the now 25 years of being a band they have managed to release eight full-length records. The band, for the most part, has been pretty much the same with its five members and its unique ska sound with both a trombone and tenor saxophone. The band has additionally had several side projects throughout the years but Less Than Jake is still alive and well. “Sound The Alarm” shows exactly why the band has lasted so long.
“Sound The Alarm” is brief, it is only a seven-track EP that clocks in at just around 21 minutes long. Do not let the length deter you, in those seven tracks we see just how Less Than Jake can defy trends and create their own sound. The EP takes a more storytelling approach in the tracks and it has a more distinct diary feel to it. Overall there is a lot of fun to be had with this EP in how it sounds and how it changes things up.
Musically, from start to finish, this record is just really well mixed and sounds great. Every guitar riff hooks you into the track and it is easy to keep coming back to “Sound The Alarm” again and again. We do not see age slowing down the band at all, we get that distinct punk feel from the get go on tracks like “Call to Arms” or “Whatever the Weather.” Both the trombone and tenor sax never feel out of place in this entire EP, which is something that tends to happen a lot with the ska sound. However Less Than Jake have found a system that works for them and it works well. The only track that seems to feel out of place, at least with the overall tone it gives off, is “Welcome to My Life.” This track is the one thing that does not really fit the overall rhythm of the entire record. Despite that this record is high energy from start to finish.
Lyrically there is not anything too complex here. The main thing is that each song has one-liner lyrics that just stick with you long after listening. Tracks like “Call to Arms” are meant to rile you up and get you excited while tracks like “Good Sign” appreciate the little things in life. The lyrics are by no means game changing, they are just a lot of fun and the kind of songs that get stuck in your head really easily. Before you know it you are singing along to almost every single track on this EP
Should you listen to it?: Yes!
If you have never heard of Less Than Jake before, shame on you. If that is the case though, “Sound the Alarm” is the perfect gateway into this bands discography. Each track stands out and shows how this band is nowhere near slowing down or selling out. With tracks like “Things Change” being so much fun to move around or sing along to it is hard not to appreciate this EP. Less Than Jake have proven why they have been around for a quarter of a century and why they dominate their scene.