Anthemby Less Than Jake
After ten-plus years of party grooves, label woes, and too many shows to count, Less Than Jake's Chris (vocals/guitar), Roger (vocals/bass), Vinnie (drums/lyrics), Buddy (trombone), and JR (saxophone) put everything they learned into Anthem. And what's old is new again. The band reissued its spiny font, but it also returned to the major-label ranks (this time with Warner Bros.), and hired hit-making producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day's Dookie, etc.) to tweak its tried-and-true formula of effervescent pop
ock punk-ska. The result is a hooky, heady collection of heartfelt postcards from the future that LTJ's youthful fan base has to look forward to. While Cavallo and mixer Tom Lord-Alge have certainly tightened Anthem's hooks, all the crunchy major chords and soaring choruses have a tendency to crowd out the band's ska influences and relegate its horn section to support status. While "Look What Happened" does employ JR and Buddy's considerable talents to the song's plaintive melody, and "The Science of Selling Yourself Short" is a bouncing, sunlit reggae rocker, the majority of Anthem is devoted to energizing punk sermons on booze, pals, and a youth wasted on empty wishes and "weeks of weekends" (from the single "She's Gonna Break Soon"). It's as if Less Than Jake is apologizing to itself for all the mistakes it made, while at the same time warning the listener about what not to do. All the lyrical soul-searching and sloganeering make eerie bedfellows for some of the hookiest material the band has ever written. But this also adds much needed character to songs that in younger hands might be earnest, yet empty-headed (see Sum 41 as an example). "Short Fuse Burning" rocks the stuttering guitar line of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" over a double-step melodic hardcore rhythm. "They are sleepwalking their way through life," laments the painting that accompanies "The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle" (each of Anthem's tracks features a complementary work by a unique artist). The song doesn't offer much hope, but its unadorned realism is welcome in a genre that's too often vapid. The horn section makes a triumphant return for "Best Wishes to Your Black Lung," and makes the song the closest thing Anthem ever gets to the third-wave ska leanings of LTJ's earlier material. Some longtime fans of the group will undoubtedly dislike Anthem, and declare it to be a volley lobbed at mainstream acceptance. These naysayers have a point, as the presence of Cavallo's Midas touch proves. But they'll likely miss the larger message of Anthem, which is truly driven home with the album's final word, a bonus cover of one of the all-time classic anthems, Cheap Trick's "Surrender." The song's penultimate moment, when the teenaged narrator discovers that his parents are cooler than he is, in Less Than Jake's hands becomes a warning for a new generation of kids. Surrender to your dreams, they seem to suggest, but don't let your dreams carry you away. It's a lesson driven home over 40 minutes of soul-searching and bittersweet recollection that nevertheless rocks with major-league efficiency.
- Release Date:
- Warner Bros / Wea
- Welcome to the New South
- The Ghosts of Me and You
- Look What Happened
- The Science of Selling Yourself Short
- Short Fuse Burning
- Motown Never Sounded So Good
- The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle
- Escape from the A-Bomb House
- Best Wishes to Your Black Lung
- She's Gonna Break Soon
- That's Why They Call It a Union
- Plastic Cup Politics
- The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out/Screws Fall Out
Performance CreditsLess Than Jake Primary Artist
Luis Conte Percussion
Jamie Muhoberac Keyboards
Buddy Schaub Trombone
Vinnie Fiorello Drums
Heather Tabor Background Vocals
Technical CreditsDoug McKean Engineer
Scott Sinclair Illustrations
Rob Cavallo Producer
Wendy Dougan Art Direction,Enhanced Recording
Steve Vance Illustrations
Chip Wass Illustrations
Shepard Fairey Illustrations
Jon Masciana Enhanced Recording
Mike Baehler Live Sound
Vinnie Fiorello Art Direction,Package Concept
Camille Rose Garcia Illustrations
David Choe Illustrations
Kurt Halsey Fredericksen Illustrations
Wendy Ann Gardner Illustrations
Shawn Hall Illustrations
Speed Scott Hall Illustrations
Jason Miracle Illustrations
Peter Wonsowski Illustrations
Florenzio Zavala Illustrations
Alison Zawacki Illustrations
Jeff Soto Illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Well, i had never heard of Less Than Jake untill like a week ago but the guy i like wears their t shirts all the time. I figured i'd listen to them so we'd have something to talk about and they are actually really good.
Less than jake is awesome and this cd is the best one yet, i love it
got this cd on the day it came out. i got the version with the t-shirt and dvd. the t-shirt is really cool. it has a picture of the ablum on it and the dvd is kinda cool to. i love the song "the science of selling your self out" and "short fuse burning" i really sujest u buy this cd if u love less than jake or ska all togater. ~ChAZ~
Always great Less Than Jake. A wonderful taste of punk. You have to see them in concert to get the full affect of their music, but they are great no matter what.
this is not the less than jake i know. they sold out, and it's easy to see it here. that aside, its still a good album, just not the ska that less than jake is known for... END TRANSMISSION...
Less Than Jake is without a doubt my favorite band. THEY ARE AWESOME!!! I love their lyrics.
hahaha chaz,less than jake is really good but they are not entirely ska.i enjoyed such songs as asaok the science of selling yourself short or shes gonna break soon.anthem is a great record like many of their others,i strongly suggest buying the cd.
I don't think Less Than Jake sold out at all. Their sound is a little different, but it didn't just change overnight, they didn't cut out their horns, they didn't change their lyrics to please people, and they didn't start wearing all black clothes and mascara (cough, GREENDAY, cough). Their sound is just changing over time and while I love their older stuff with more ska in it, I love this just as much. This album is worth it so give it a try.