Less Than Jake – In With The Out Crowd – Review

lessthanjake200Less Than Jake

In With The Out Crowd (Sire)
by Scott Hefflon

“These guys are still around?” Hey, you can say it, we’re all thinking it. Surprisingly yes, and more surprisingly, Less Than Jake is still good. While I like ska as much as I like puking, life has moments you must endure, and there are prices to pay for all the partying. So the three ska fans left in America can rejoice, and those who like those big chorused mid-tempo pop songs every mop-top does now can wait for that defining moment in some awful teen movie and dance around the room, and hopefully fall out a window and snap their necks. Luckily, the head-bopping punk is still present, sounding oddly like Bracket with ALL’s Chad Price gruffly hitting every note, cuz that’s what singers should be expected to do. This is major label production through and through (the band reteamed with Howard Benson, who produced ’98’s Hello Rockview, then moved onto high-paying low points in music history like Hoobastank and such), but smiling singles and flashing their ska roots (which should be made illegal, think of the children!) aside, there are strong tunes here, and the rest is “is this style popular?” A song like “Rest of My Life” is timeless. Not like it’s tricky, it’s just warm and touching, well-executed, repetitive but not annoyingly so, and while it’s predictable from key change to dramatic stresses to string inclusion, it’s the comfort of curling up in a favorite blanket or the feeling of sun on your face. Not everything has to be shockingly original, good is good, even if it’s been done many times before.