25 February 2017

Less Than Jake - Sound The Alarm EP

Less Than Jake have been going for twenty-five years: I will let that statement sink in for a bit.......

As ska-punk with a hint of party go, Less Than Jake are one of those bands that always bring the vibe and whilst some of their songs have a serious or even a darker message than the music, they have always had a spark that has garner interest and parties.  True, they have their fair share of people who do not like their music (our blogger Jerm is known to get violent if I threated to make him review anything with a horn section), but they also have their share of fans from around the world.  I saw them last year with Marichi El Bronx, The Bennies, The Skints and local lads Better Days.  It was a great gig and if it was not for my laptop being down it would have been the second gig to have been reviewed (basically, all bands were mint).  It has been almost four years since the last LTJ album 'See the Light' and it seemed that the band might just keep touring and it was not obvious that they were going to release more songs; so, it is actually a really nice surprise that they have dropped this seven track EP and now it is time to see if the alarm was worth sounding.

01 - Call to Arms

With an energy that is missing from many bands who are much younger than these guys, Less Than Jake start the album with the sound of despair and regret (two regular features in their music), a little bit of hope and a request for help.  It is full of horns, loud guitars, a sing-a-long bit and will start a circle pit in an empty room - what more could you want from an album opening track?

02 - Whatever the Weather

This is one of my favourite from this EP, mainly because it is the slower version of the band as they look darker times and how things can be hard at times, but how there is determination in the ability to stay true.  The music is slower, the bass louder and it reminds me a bit of 'The Science of Selling Yourself Short' (which is my favourite song by this band) and whilst it is short of lyrics, it is huge in terms of sound, emotion and that spirit which makes a song instantly likeable.

03 - Bombs Drop

'Bombs Drop' is the sort of song you could ska your night away to, dancing around like an idiot and not listening to the lyrics whilst having fun all the time.  The lyrics themselves look at depression, stress and general bad luck with a care and humility of people who have experienced those sorts of conditions in huge doses.  Another classic LTJ tune in the making and one what should be played at every show play!

04 - Welcome to My Life

Bad luck just seems to follow people like a lost dog at times, it is just a curse that happens to some people and there is nothing that they can do about it.  This is the sort of song for people to sing along to, enjoy the moment of sadness and dance a little bit in certain places as the rest is sort of mournful (in a given sense of the word - it is a LTJ song) and it has a bit where you can jump about for a few moments.  Sadness has not right to have a fun section......

05 - Good Sign

I like it when they are in fighting spirits, the dark times are still there; but the hope is also there and the determination to get through the shit is just as strong.  When you have a kick-ass, ska powered, rooting and tooting tune with a great riff, fast bass, massive horns, great drums and strong vocals to help, it makes it that little bit easier!  It is a joy to hear and it makes me grin from ear to ear!

06 - Years of Living Dangerously

The internal struggles are on show on 'Years of Living Dangerously' with a slow, reflective number which bemoans its own luck, feeling down and out and trying to keep everything under controls, but it is not really working as the trust is long gone.  Sadly, it is the song on the EP which I would skip, but I still enjoy it.  Well played and all that jazz, but only to be played in small doses to be honest

07 - Things Change

Ending the EP is the eternally bouncing 'Things Change' which has so much energy and spirit, more than it should for a song about the party being over and things are moving on.  I love that it keeps in the spirit of the band, but it keeps that focus on the mental state of the individual and it also has a large degree of hope in the mix too.  It is not throwaway and it has a serious message, ending the EP on a very high water mark.

I think this is one of the best releases from Less Than Jake, it is short, sharp and emotionally charged with a huge sound.  Yes, they have been around for twenty-five years, but they are still releasing quality releases and not making the exact same record.  True, it is not that far from their original origins, but it still sounds like they have something to say and that they are not going through the motions.  One of the best releases of the year, go out, ska and reflect!!!

5 out of five - I wish I had more ears to like this more

Top track - Whatever the Weather

You can purchase Sound the Alarm EP from Amazon here.

You can visit the Less Than Jake website here.

You can follow the activities of Less Than Jake on Facebook here.

You can stream Sound the Alarm EP on Spotify here.

You can stream Sound the Alarm EP on Deezer here.

You can stream Sound the Alarm EP on Tidal here.

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