Ska punk legends (yes, they are legends – sorry ska purists) Less Than Jake are back with their 9th full-length album called ‘Silver Linings.’ Their last album was 2017’s ‘Sound The Alarm’ EP but that only had 7 songs on it. Definitely made me crave more. 2013’s ‘See The Light’ was the band’s last full-length album I suppose. I think any LTJ fan should be very happy with the way this album has come out!
This is the first time that original member and primary songwriter Vinnie Fiorello didn’t write or record with the band. I know Vinnie has collaborated on The Inevitables but I’m not sure if he’s still involved with the band in some capacity or not. Matt Yonker from Teen Idols has been playing with the band since 2018, but has been in the LTJ circle for awhile now. Their sound is still the same it’s been, just fun ska punk party music! If you’ve ever been to one of their shows, you know it’s a party…well sometimes a game show, circus or carnival as well.
The first track “The High Cost of Low Living” is a rollicking fun tune that sounds like something off of ‘Borders and Boundaries.’ Chris sings lead on that one and Roger sings lead on the next track, “Lie To Me.” JR’s sax is the first thing that pops out to me but I also love Roger’s singing and the lyrics as well. Definitely a favorite from ‘Silver Linings.’ “Anytime and Anywhere” is another single that is an obvious stand out but the rest of the album is stellar. No dig at ‘See the Light,’ I just like this album so much more.
The band has always had that mixture of ska and punk rock sound, but I think with the last few albums they have just perfected it. Fine tuning here and there but why mess with a formula that has worked for decades. Chris and Roger work so well together as dual vocalists. Buddy and JR have been holding down the horn section for a long time too and haven’t sounded better! Having Matt’s drumming added to the mix, you get something just slightly different but in a sense – still Less than Jake. Maybe a punkier version of LTJ but don’t worry rudies, plenty of songs to circle pit skank to.
It’s nice to see the band slow down a bit with the song “Lost at Home.” Has a reggae/“The Science of Selling Yourself Short” vibe to it and I dig it! When listening to the album, the first half felt like albums like ‘Borders and Boundaries,’ ‘Losing Streak’ and ‘Hello Rockview.’ The other half reminds me of stuff from ‘In With The Out Crowd’ and ‘Anthem.’ All of that is fine to me since I love all those albums. Plus, got to love that tribute to The Descendents and I’m assuming Bill Stevenson on “Bill.” It’s a funny thing to have a tribute song for someone still alive but the band turns that notion upside and raises a glass to him so he can actually hear the damn song.
9 full-length albums and a buttload of EPs, singles, 7 inches and Less than Jake show no signs of slowing down. Even during a pandemic, the band managed to release a new album and find a way to have their music reach fans. They have been a touring machine for many years so I can only imagine how hard it is for them right now. The best thing you can do right now is buy this album or bundles, buy their live stream shows when they do them, and other merch that supports them and their crew. Every band and musician is struggling now so do your part in any way you can.
‘Silver Linings’ is awesome and a great way to end the shitshow that is 2020!
Bottom Line: Less Than Jake continues to dominate the ska punk world!
Notable Tracks: The High Cost of Low Living, Lie To Me, Anytime and Anywhere, Lost at Home, Bill, So Much Less