The phrase “short but sweet” is a massive cliche, but it’s also completely appropriate here. Skacore legends Less Than Jake‘s “Greetings From” EP, which was released without warning on June 20, clocks in at 5 tracks and 14 minutes long, but it’s a great example of everything the band does well.
“Can’t Yell Any Louder” opens the EP with a bang, jumping right into a snappy horn line and tight drums. It combines an upbeat ska beat and a punky, singalong chorus, two things these guys are truly excellent at doing. It’s easy to see this one becoming a permanent staple at their live shows.
The second track, “Goodbye Mr. Personality,” is a little smoother and slower. It opens with a sweet little guitar riff and takes down people who are obnoxious and unworthy of your time, which is always a good message. But it does it with crystal-clear vocals and a clean ska beat.
They then power into “Harvey Wallbanger.” Fret not, LTJ fans, their signature “whoooooas” are not absent. We’ve located them in the opening bars of track three. This number is a harder-driving punk jam named after a cocktail and starting off with the lines “We are recession royalty/We take Adderral to stay awake, and alcohol to fall asleep.” It’s an ode to booze and drinking your troubles away, not to mention living in the moment with the line “let’s have a toast for living now.”
“Oldest Trick in the Book” is a bit more slowed down and introspective. It’s a lighter sound (though a heavier topic) with a strong reggae groove. It’s a reflection on the end of life, with the chorus “All I know/I’ll change the world before I go.” The depth of the subject matter and scaled-back sound are a contrast from the previous track, which just makes them stand out even more. Uh-oh, this might mean the guys of LTJ have grown up. It was bound to happen, but at least they did it well.
The EP closes with a fast-paced party of a song, “Life Led Out Loud,” which is reminiscent of a “Hello Rockview” era sound. They plow through punk beats into singable ska choruses and a pounding bridge. And more “whoas” of course.
“Greetings From Less Than Jake” feels like a retrospective of all the nuances of the band’s sound; everything they’ve done right over the years. It feels like it could have been recorded alongside one of their classic albums but at the same time it couldn’t have, because it’s got a sense of growth and refinement that can only come from many years of practice and a few billion recording sessions (or 287). They’ve also embraced a new business model where all the money from each album sale goes directly to the band, which makes this feel even more awesome.