REVIEW: Less Than Jake – “Sound The Alarm”

ltjsta

It’s been about four months since I wrote about any record. I’m coming back with an easy one. Less Than Jake is one of my favorite bands. They have been since I was a teenager. It was Less Than Jake and the Bouncing Souls forever. Like, I’ve forgotten a lot of things over the years. The lyrics to every Less Than Jake record up to and including GNV FLA are still burned in my brain though. I definitely got away from this band after that. I never really listened to either of the Greetings EPs or See The Light very much. They were great records. I was busy reviewing every fucking emo revival record, or whatever.

There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to Less Than Jake. They are a band of veterans who know exactly where their proverbial bread is buttered. It’s why, in 2017, I can still put on any of their records and know I’m going to enjoy it. Is it predictability? Definitely. Could that be viewed as a negative thing? Absolutely. Not by me though, because I still love this goddamn band.

Sound The Alarm is exactly what you expect it to be. It’s an EP full of poppy songs with oddly bummer lyrics. Sound The Alarm would him every point if there was a template for a Less Than Jake record. “Call To Arms” is the classic punk with horns opener. Compared to their discography, it is probably the most Anthem-y. “Welcome To My Life” and “Years Of Living Dangerously” hit the laid back ska vibe. Both songs deal with friendships and relationships in different ways. The former being apologetic, the latter hits on the classic, reminiscent theme the band often uses. “Thing Change” is the strongest song on the record. It closes the record with the most Less Than Jake song they’ve recorded in years. Fast verses, great horn line, and a huge chorus.

It’s not really easy to write about Less Than Jake objectively. This band is wildly important to me, and I’m definitely willing to overlook things other people maybe won’t. Nostalgia is a hell of thing. Anything this band does is going to remind me of something I’ve done while listening to them. “Bomb Drop” makes reminds me of driving in a blizzard while listening to Borders And Boundaries. “Years Of Living Dangerously” reminds me of being sad and drunk while listening to B Is For B-Sides.

It’s a fucking Less Than Jake record. You know what it is. Don’t overthink it. It’s good, and it is another strong release in this band’s discography. I know everyone is going to try and compare it Hello Rockview or Losing Streak. Don’t do that. Just let it play. You’ll like it.

Less Than Jake
Pure Noise Records
Bandcamp
Buy It

 

REVIEW: Handguns – "Don’t Bite Your Tongue"

Handguns is one of the million bands doing the whole pop punk meets hardcore thing. What we have here is an EP of dudes singing stereotypical songs about how girls are mean. You know, the whole “you broke my heart” schtick. Which is obviously nothing new, especially given the genre. But, goddamnit, just because it is the genre norm does not make it any less stupid. The RIYL for this record is The Wonder Years, The Movielife, Fireworks, and Set Your Goals. Sounds about right.

Saves The Day, New Found Glory, The Movielife, and even Fall Out Boy could write this kind of stuff without it being fucking terrible. Not the case here. I mean, musically, this is pretty standard stuff. It sounds like any Drive Thru Records type band (circa 2000-2005). If that was your bag, then this is up your alley. But, the lyrics are fucking terrible.

“Scream Goodbye” give us this gem:
“I don’t regret a thing I did, I don’t regret a thing I said.

I’d drive nails into my ears to get your voice out of my head.
And I would rather die, or staple gun my eyes, than have to see your face again,
You’re wasting all my time.”

“I Hope He Kills You” give us:
“You’re always on the wrong side of the turnpike.

I want to choke myself to death with the phone line.
‘Go your own way and I’ll be with you,’
but nothing that you ever say could make me hate you.”

(Sidebar: Fuck you guys for quoting Further Seems Forever in your goofy song. Especially when that song seems like an attempt to write a song like “Hope.” You are not the Descendents, you will never write a song like “Hope,” so stop.)
Basically, this is generic radio punk with generic lyrics. Seven songs at just about 18 minutes. I have listened to this record a few time in preparation for this review. I want my time back. Although, at 26, I am not the target demographic for this. Somewhere, an angst ridden 15 year old boy is stoked. So, why not give him some garbage that objectifies and degrades women? I mean, the only reason women exist is to serve as love interest props for guys to sing about, right? It will make you a quick buck. The current Warped Tour scene will eat it up.
No fucking thanks.