Less Than Jake - Anthem

America has really led the way with the ska revival. Step forward No Doubt. Take a bow Reel Big Fish and give it up for Less Than Jake. The band released their debut album "Pezcore" in 1995 and built up an electrifying reputation as a dazzling and unforgettable live band. "Anthem" was produced by Rob Cavallo who masterminded Green Day's seminal work "Dookie". As well as the ska influence Less Than Jake incorporate punk rock and pop into their trademark wall of sound which may account for their cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender". Never ones to leave their  roots behind the CD artwork features 16 exclusive illustrations by top underground artists.

"The Ghosts Of Me And You" grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go, bombarding your ear drums with buzz-saw guitars, gruff coals and trombone and saxophone flourishes creating a feel good, jubilant flava. In contrast to the music's joviality, the lyrics darkly touch on the devastating effect people and experiences from the past can have an you. "The Science Of Selling Yourself Short" is a laid back reggae lite summer song with an infectiously catchy chorus. With deep meaningful lyrics every one can relate to specifically regarding the self destructive nature of human behaviour. "Escape From The A-Bomb House" is loud, direct and thrashy, but with a restrained arrangement. Lyrically it addresses the issue of leaving home, growing up and moving on. "She's Gonna Break Soon" is simple, effective and straight to the point. "Plastic Cup Politics" begins slowly with only a voice and electric guitar, then the rest of the band impressively crank up the volume to maximum effect thrashing around with wild abandon.

On the surface Less Than Jake are a rabble rousing in yer face band, but if you look beyond the fun fuelled frolics you'll soon realize that they take a lot of care in writing true to life lyrics with subtlety and sensitivity. Before signing to Warner Brothers, Less Than Jake had a cult fan base from constant touring and the indie albums "Borders And Boundaries" and "Hello Rockview". Now signed to a major label the band sound even better with a slightly more polished and professional production, but still with a rawness and intensity that's hard to beat.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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