Less Than Jake is an awesome ska punk band from Gainesville, Florida. See The Light is their 9th full length album. They have been together for over 20 years. So this album should be boring, stale and uninspired right? WRONG. This band sounds just as fresh and energetic as they did when they got together in 1992. People have said that these songs remind them of stuff off of Pezcore and Hello Rockview and I agree.
The album kicks off with their patented horn and ska sound. “Good Enough” is a great start to the album, especially because of those blaring horns. This song seems to talk about the American dream and how there is this idea of what life is supposed to be. Life might not be as wonderful as people paint it to be. All the glittery ‘gold’ of life might not be what it was cracked up to be, “And all the gold won’t keep its shine, it’s always fading. Tarnishing the things you hold without explaining.”
The second song is the single, “My Money is on the Long Shot” which is a great selection because it is really catchy. They seem to be talking about the future and the next generation, “And we always wanted something bigger but we don’t work for it cause we know it’s too much of a risk.” That doesn’t exactly paint a picture of confidence. The song is really catchy though. “Jump” touches on trusting your instincts and doing what you know is right. “Remember when you had all the answers, nothing else even mattered.”
“The Loudest Songs” is really catchy and upbeat and so is its message. The song is about the power of music, “I believe it’s possible that words and chords can make us strong and make you feel alive, the loudest songs.” This is so true. Uplifting lyrics and even melodies can improve people’s moods. This is one of my favorite things about music. I really love the clever wordplay on “Do the Math”. It uses math terms to talk about the preciousness of time. “I count on one hand what matters to me most. Only time can subtract them I suppose.” It talks about how no matter what we do time marches on and if we let it time will wash people and memories away, so to hold on to them.
“Bless the Cracks” is up next it is really upbeat try not to sing, “Don’t go holding your breath,” with the band. This song is infectious. The next tune, “John the Baptist Bones” talks a little about faith, it is vague but still gets their point across. They express how they don’t let others opinions/thoughts on religion affect them, they have their own faith. “Somebody told us back when we were young, have faith in things that you will never touch. I’ve always thought this, maybe I’ll confess I think there’s no plans, only accidents.” The lyrics aren’t preachy they just talk about what they believe.
“American Idle” is a song about getting up and getting out of their hometown and making something of themselves.
“We were the kids from the cul-de-sacs that got out somehow without looking back it’s over.” They go on to talk about how important it is to hold on to their memories, “It’s in the way, we can’t explain, why we were the ones who got away. It’s in the way, these memories will fade, so we always keep them locked away.” Next up is “The Troubles” a fun ska punk tune that keeps the energy of the album up.
The next song slows it down a little but is still a great tune in fact it is my favorite song on the album, “Give Me Something to Believe In, Inc.” I love the horn solo in the bridge and the theme of fighting for a good life. “Give me something to believe in so I can give you reasons to wake yourself and come in from the storm.” Life is difficult but if you keep fighting and believing you can make it through. “Sunstroke” is a song about legacy and how time just marches on regardless of what we think and feel. That seems to be the reoccurring theme on this album. Time is powerful and unstoppable so we should make the most of the life we have. “We’ve all been living proof, that time won’t wait or choose, we know it ticks on without me and you.”
The penultimate track on the album, “A Short History Lesson” is just that, short. It is a firecracker of a song, short but bursting with energy. It starts off with a school bell and a cheery ‘Good Morning Students’ and then kicks in. Sometimes life is not what we want and we get discouraged, “I can’t think about it on every single day, a quick decline coming over me. I won’t talk about it but I admit defeat.” The album closer is called “Weekends All Year” and is a tale of the toll that constantly being on tour takes. “The party never ends when you been up for days and stay confused.” They admit that it is a fun life but a tough one as well.
This album proves that Less Than Jake have definitely still got it. They roar back with a strong new album with renewed energy. There are plenty of catchy ska punk songs for you to ‘skank’ along to.