Thursday, January 22, 2009

7. Less Than Jake - GNV FLA

Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know. Ska? Less Than Jake? Well, friend, sit back, take off your skinny jeans (they ugg), and give your favorite band in high school a chance. (by the way, Fleet Foxes isn't going to be on this list, so feel free to move along if you feel this list isn't going to be for you)

Less Than Jake might be back. From the first line in the first song, 'City of Gainesville' ("we have our master plan, bottled and canned, living in the 3-5-2."), to a solid finishing song, 'Devil In My DNA', this album delivers. LTJ said that the reason behind the album name -- which is the Gainesville airport code -- was it signified a return to their roots. Seeing as how they have always been obsessed with Gainesville, by return to their roots, I think they mostly mean a return to their musical roots. No more trying to distance themselves from being a ska band, which was unsuccessful anyway. Instead, they have re-invited their brand of fusing pop-punk with ska into their lives. And it works, as this album is better than anything Less Than Jake has had since 'Hello Rockview' or 'Losing Streak' -- depending on how you feel about 'Hello Rockview' (which, if you are like me, is an opinion that constantly changes).

Sure, Less Than Jake has had some nice songs in their three previous releases, 'Gainesville, Rock City' and 'For The Rest Of My Life' come to mind, or even that one song that played on the radio all the time back in 2004 that was the most ska thing LTJ has ever done (after research, I have found that it was called 'The Science Of Selling Yourself Short'). But their complete albums have either been boring or difficult to listen to (one song on Athem was called 'That's Why They Call It A Union' or something made me hate happiness and the thought of eternal life). This album, though, is full of songs that might be your favorites ('Does the Lion City Still Roar?', 'Malachi Richter's Liquor's Quicker', 'The Space They Can't Touch', 'City of Gainesville', 'State of Florida').

If you ever liked Less Than Jake, I think you'll like GNV FLA. It doesn't sound like 'Pezcore', and I don't even think they have that in them anymore (though, have you listened to that album in the last five years? it hasn't really held up), and it also isn't like 'Losing Streak', but there is something about GNV FLA that almost reaches the level of those albums. Maybe it is better that it isn't much like those two albums, because it is something you can enjoy because is it good right now, not because it reminds you of 1996, 1997 and 1998.

GNV FLA also has some addictive horn parts, no better displayed than on the best song on the album, 'Abandon Ship'. But don't take my word for it.....


B. said...

Nice write up! I got this album after reading your review and I really like it.

Lee said...


This top 10 finally means something. From the beginning, I thought to myself, 'if I can influence just one person, this will be a success.' I was starting to wonder if that one person was going to be me.
(Mormon humor*, B.)

I'm glad you like it. Thanks for listening.

*=attempt at?