Less Than Jake Releases First EP Under New Label, Holds On To Their Own Unique Sound
by Stefani Reynolds
Less Than Jake kicked off 2016 with the release of their live album Live from Astoria, and followed it up with a triumphant return to Van’s Warped Tour. Now it’s safe to say that their 2017 will start off just as strong, having announced a new seven track EP, Sound the Alarm, which is set to drop February 3rd.
This is the first EP that the Gainesville, Florida natives will release under Pure Noise Records, but a new label didn’t stop them from remaining true to the unique ska-punk sound that they’re known for. They’ve just managed to bring it to an entirely new level; one that highlights all of their best features and emphasizes their growth as a band over the last twenty-five years.
Holding true to the band’s sentiment that “a collection of great moments defines an amazing record”, they created a masterpiece that was absolutely packed with them. Starting off strong, “Call to Arms” was the perfect opening to the album. An unapologetic anthem with a strong baseline to draw you in, it is a great example of what you can expect from the rest of the album: the same youthful energy fans have come to expect, but seemingly more developed, with a more matured arrangement of songs.
A whirlwind collection of high energy horns, strong baselines, and melodic guitars, this EP has a little bit of everything. From ska-punk anthems to some softer, feel-good tracks, every song somehow manages to hold on to that punk-rock feel, and they all come together seamlessly to create one brilliant, cohesive thought.
“Whatever the Weather” is one of the more mellow songs on the album, but it’s one that you’ll want to keep on repeat. It’s almost impossible to get the catchy, melodic chorus out of your head, but chances are you won’t want to. Although it’s one of the more somber feeling tracks, it demands your attention with its heavy guitar and unwavering lyrics, picking the song up and helping it keep the same punk-rock edge as the rest of the EP.
Fans don’t get much of a break, though. “Bomb Drop” is quick to follow and immediately brings the energy back up, highlighting the group’s prominent horns and strong, rapid guitar. From the second the song opens, you’re hit with an infectious energy that doesn’t quit until the final note is played. One of the more classic Less Than Jake songs, it is sure to be one of the favorites of long time fans.
“Welcome to My Life” really highlights the softer side of the group’s ska-punk sound, and brings back an incredibly easy-going, relaxing vibe before listeners are thrown into “Good Sign”- a song that seems to embody this album perfectly. Best listened to on max, there is a perfect mix of the classic Less Than Jake style, while really embracing the new feeling that’s really relevant on Sound the Alarm.
“Things Change” is a strong finish to the EP, and goes to show that no matter how many things change for a band over twenty-five years, their infectious energy and strong, unique sound will never disappear.
It’s a safe bet that Sound the Alarm is an EP that any Less Than Jake fan is sure to love. They’ve managed to hold on to their signature sound, taking the best of what they’ve already done, while continuing to grow. In doing so, they have produced something both nostalgic and fresh; something that will certainly not disappoint old fans, but will still keep them on their toes.
It is currently available for pre-order, and fans can catch it live at one of their many upcoming tour dates, including New York’s Playstation Theater on February 17th.
Listen to: “Call to Arms”, “Good Sign”, “Things Change”