February 22, 2017

Less Than Jake – Sound The Alarm

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Less Than Jake doesn’t have to do this. As they enter their 25th year as a band, (almost my entire lifetime) they don’t have to continue touring night after night; playing terrific sets. They certainly don’t have to keep making music; adding to their already massive catalog. They don’t have to do any of it anymore. They’ve earned the right to take a break and no one would think any less of them for it. So rather than following up their 2013 full-length album See The Light with another LP, they decided to gift their fans with a 7-song EP that is fantastic front to back.

Sound the Alarm is a brief, yet nearly perfect window into what a complete Less Than Jake package might be. The singing duties are nearly evenly split between guitarist Chris Demakes and bassist Roger Lima and as usual, they complement each other so well. The opening track “Call To Arms” could have fit right into their 2003 album Anthem with its driving chords and signature horns as an accent, rather than at the forefront. Fans of horns will be pleased to see their dominance in the second track, “Whatever the Weather,” and can rest assured as they are prominently featured for the rest of the EP.

Speaking of the horns, JR Wasilewski and Buddy Schaub have written some of their very best work to date. These bouncy horn lines helped define Less Than Jake’s music, and no song on this EP does that better than “Bomb Drop.” This explosive track makes it easy to see why they chose it to be a single. From the opening horns to the strong chorus, it is without a doubt my favorite song on the EP with JR and Buddy getting all of the limelight they rightly deserve.

Fans are also treated to a couple slow songs in “Welcome To My Life” and “Years of Living Dangerously.” These play to their reggae side and fit in well to mix up the tempo of the EP. While neither will measure up as instant classics like “The Science of Selling Yourself Short,” they are by no means bad songs and work well in this EP.

These songs are surrounded by the faster and quintessential Less Than Jake sound we have been accustomed to the last 15 years. Both “Good Sign” and album closer “Things Change,” feature fast paced verses and earworm choruses I suspect will become staples in their live shows going forward. In particular, “Things Change” will be a fan favorite that I can’t wait to belt out in the crowd.

Fans of Less Than Jake definitely don’t need the band to make any more music to stay happy. But here we are with another collection of tracks I will be rocking out to throughout the summer. I will always look forward to the next album the boys look to make, but at this stage in their careers, they are allowed to do whatever they want. I am so thankful they keep at it. I’ll be here every step of the way.

Thank you, Less Than Jake.

Written by: Sean McGrath

Rating: 9/10

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