The sound of your youth when you were leaving it, that is what this album sort of represents for me these days. Some people would argue that men never really leave their youth behind; I would probably agree with that one as well and would say that all genders are guilty of that one. But who would want to grow up? Not these guys, and back in 1998 these guys were the background music to a lot of parties. Less Than Jake hail from Gainesville, Florida in the USA and this was their third release which was also their final release for Capitol records. Back then, the band were a different beast from the band who released 'In With The Out Crowd' (cleverly linked here), with more focus being the ska aspect of the band. The art work for the album was done by Steve Vance in the style of a vintage comic ala Dick Tracy, and the production was done by Howard Benson who would work with the band again on the aforementioned 'In With The Out Crowd'.
This album is just out for the party - there is no other purpose for this record. Some of its lyrics may have deeper meaning, such as "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads" which tells people not to judge books by their covers; "Motto" talks about holding onto what you are and keeping true to yourself; "History Of A Boring Town" talks about being back in a town which is as dull as dishwater. Then again, they have a song called "Richard Allen George... No, It's Just Cheez" and it is about being called Cheez.....go figure.
This is not an album that is going to win any awards outside its specialist field and if you are not a ska punk fan, then this will not be the album for you. But I just love this album and it always leaves me with a big, dumb smile on my face each time I hear it. Songs like "Help Save The Youth Of America From Exploding", "Big Crash" and "Nervous In The Alley" are just so full of energy and joyful optimism that it infects the listener like an disease that make you want to dance, sing and be stupid. Whilst not being as rewarding as later works, this is a fantastic piece that still holds strong today as it did back in the parties.
7.5 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
You can purchase one of the various versions of the album on Amazon here
Here is a link to the Less Than Jake website
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
Here is a live version of "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads" & "Help Save The Youth Of America From Exploding"