Less Than Jake

(Sleep It Off Records 2008)Less Than Jake - GNV FLA

Fast-forward sixteen years. Less Than Jake are still around, still kicking, still screwing around and, amazingly, not the worse for wear. Who would have thought? This time around, Less Than Jake have not only a new album, "GNV FLA" (read: Gainesville, Florida), but also their own record label, Sleep It Off Records. On the pop punk-meets-ska band's newest album they pay tribute to their Florida roots while packing as many light, catchy melodies in as possible.

The band never sound brighter or more upbeat, albeit usually deceptively so, than on the driving "Golden Age Of My Negative Ways" and "Abandon Ship" with their quick, catchy melodies. But the band do change things up from time to time, avoiding a potential overkill of poppy melodies on every track. Leaning more towards straight-up rock, heavy metal guitar chords chime out on "Settling Son" as Less Than Jake takes a less poppy approach while opening song "City of Gainesville" is light and optimistic, working well as an overall introduction.

Less Than Jake make "GNV FLA" a musical experience that sails smoothly by and sounds tight. Put simply: "GNV FLA" is a good album. But that's where it stops. Less Than Jake seem content to show up and play in cruise control rather than pushing the album, and themselves, into another realm, into something really special. Is it predictable or are they just experienced? A little of both but Less Than Jake are bouncy, poppy and upbeat as they add their little twists here and there on "GNV FLA."


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