Less Than Jake – Sound The Alarm

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.

The EP will be available from Pure Noise Records on February 3rd but is available for streaming here!

Live: Less Than Jake

On their co-headlining tour with Pepper, Less Than Jake didn’t fail to impress. The fun, energetic ska-punk band from Gainesville, FL, showed that even after 25 years, they haven’t lost their energy.


Kash’d Out

Kash’d Out was unfortunately terribly unimpressive. Their mix was pretty bad, with the kick drum being so boomy that it was completely impossible to make it out during any of their songs. Their music was low energy and didn’t really do much to rile the crowd up for the bands to come later, and to be honest wasn’t original sounding at all.


Red City Radio

This band did a much better job of getting the audience ready for the show – perhaps because they were a punk band rather than a reggae band, but at the same time I’ve seen a reggae/ska band get a crowd going really well before (shoutout to Ballyhoo!). Red City Radio played a solid set of fast punk songs, circle pits and all, and it was clear that they’ve been perfecting their craft for quite some time.


Less Than Jake

My highlight of the night, Less Than Jake had a circle pit going from song one through the end of the set, except for the quiet part of “The Rest of My Life”. The band brought their classic stage shenanigans, including toilet paper launching leaf blowers, giant balloons, and confetti cannons, while Evolution Kid (the band’s mascot) throws merch into the crowd. The band played most of their hits such as “The Science of Selling Yourself Short”, “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts”, and of course “Look What Happened”. However, they made sure to include some cuts off of their upcoming EP, Sound the Alarm, in the form of  “Bomb Drop” and “Things Change”. Overall, the band did an amazing job at keeping the crowd going, and even those Pepper fans who seemed uninterested in the band at the start of the set were enjoying Less Than Jake thoroughly by the end of the set.


Less Than Jake’s EP Sound the Alarm will be released on February 3rd via Pure Noise Records. You can preorder a copy from the band’s store now. You can also check out our gallery of Groezrock 2016, which has some great shots of Less Than Jake. We’ll have a review of Sound the Alarm soon, as well.

Photo by Jurriaan Hodzelmans for RMP Magazine.