Review: Less Than Jake - Sound The AlarmWritten by Brian LaClair
With every release, it becomes more apparent that no one can accuse Less Than Jake of rehashing old tunes. Still, the sense of familiarity that they provide with Sound The Alarm will pull even the oldest of fans back in for another helping of this inarguably influential ska/punk band.
Sound The Alarm begins with Call To Arms. This song doesn’t kick in the way you want it to until it’s pretty close to ending, however, once Chris DeMakes (vocals / guitar) hits the key change this EP goes into full swing. The song feels aptly named for that reason, almost as if it is warming up to welcome you back to everything that you’ve always loved about this band.
An interesting note here is that the first track is predominantly sung by DeMakes with very little interjection from Roger Lima (vocals / bass) and the second track, Whatever The Weather is the inverse of that. While Call To Arms is most definitely a punk song at it’s core, Whatever The Weather is reminiscent of previous releases from Less Than Jake. The horns shine in some of the most impressive harmonies this band has ever produced and you can hear them hit their stride in this track. They don’t let go of it until the last note of the EP fades out.
Lima and DeMakes finally come together on the third track, Bomb Drop. I’m tempted to say that Bomb Drop is the song that your friend would show you to get you into Less Than Jake. It’s fun, it’s spunky, and you’ll probably put it on loop for a while before you go on to the next track.
For me, the height of the EP lies in the track Welcome To My Life. This track is where Less Than Jake dance into uncharted territory. The vocal rhythm provided by Lima is unparalleled during the chorus of this song and I’m warning you now that it will get stuck in your head for days after your first listen. Welcome To My Life is almost an instant classic in the band’s 25 year repertoire, right up with the mainstream favorite The Science of Selling Yourself Short. I think it has something to do with the güiro hidden in the mix.
I have to admit at this point in the review that I have a bias toward Less Than Jake. Their songs have been the soundtrack to my life since freshman year of highschool and I have had the great opportunity to interview and spend a good amount of time with them since then. With that, I can tell you this; it’s real. Their excitement is genuine. They strive to do better and their attitude to create something refreshing with each release is unparalleled. Sound The Alarm hits that mark of doing something better and is without a doubt the best Less Than Jake release yet.
I don’t think anyone, myself included, would be able to sum up the urgency that is apparent in each song on Sound The Alarm. None of these songs truly outweigh the others and Less Than Jake has set the bar high with this release. I implore you to check out Sound The Alarm, it is worth every minute.