As most of you know very well, Gainesville ska-punk staples Less Than Jake have been around a little over two decades now. Having released 9 full-length albums, put out more 7-inches than they can probably remember, and playing well over a billion shows, they’ve earned a special place in the hearts of ska-punk fans all over.
“See The Light,” the band’s first proper full-length album in 5 years, is basically one big culmination of everything I love about Less Than Jake. Driving, distorted guitar lines, horn parts that are looked down on by elitist high school band kids and Streetlight Manifesto fans alike, melodies that get stuck in your head after a single listen, and some of the catchiest, most relatable lyrics you’ll ever have the pleasure of hearing… it’s all here!
There’s a little bit of every sound Less Than Jake have dabbled in throughout their career on this record. Some tracks, like the album’s lead single “My Money Is On The Long Shot,” are danceable ska songs with choruses sure to make for some great sing-alongs at shows. Others, like “The Troubles” are fucking awesome punk songs that make you wanna start a circle pit in your bedroom and jump around like a moron!
As always, there are songs like “John The Baptist Jones,” “A Short History Lesson,” and “Weekends All Year Long” that mix both ska and punk 50/50, with fast, upstroke-driven verses and hard-hitting, distorted choruses. Surprisingly, there are even a few songs that are kinda reminiscent of the slightly poppier sound heard on “In With The Out Crowd”! Namely, “The Loudest Songs,” “American Idle,” and “Sunstroke.”
Basically, everyone can find something they enjoy here!
Overall, I’d probably rank “See The Light” as one of my top 3 favorite Less Than Jake records, alongside “Losing Streak” and “Hello Rockview,” both of which hold a special place in my heart. Though some of you may just see this as another decent addition to the band’s extensive catalog, I think it’s one of the most diverse records LTJ have ever put out, with some of the strongest lyrics they’ve ever written (see “The Troubles” and “A Short History Lesson”).
On top of that, it’s probably the most well-produced album the band’s ever put out! In my opinion, “In With The Out Crowd” was extremely overproduced, and that takes a lot away from the quality of those songs. “Pezcore,” on the other hand, was severely underproduced, as a majority of bands’ early records are.
The production quality of “See The Light” sits somewhere in the middle. There’s not too much “studio magic” going on, but there’s not too little either. It sounds just right.
5/5 stars, motherfucker. Stream the record right here to see if it’s really that good of if I’m just a huge LTJ fanboy!
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