LP Review; Less Than Jake: “Silver Linings”

The Album:

Now, Less Than Jake has been around the block once or twice, but it has been some time since they released new music- 2017 to be exact. So, when word randomly dropped on their return- the crowd went wild.  Not to spoil anything from the forefront, but “Silver Linings” screams “this is a SKA album”, and what more could you want out of a Less Than Jake album? Nothing, nothing at all. When listening to the record, it is easily said that we are going to get classic SKA music- catchy lyrics that resonate with odd thematic ideas, contrast from vocals to instrumentals, simple musical moments that feel nostalgic, and blasting instrumentals that enhance the overall idea. This is truly the mold and make for a SKA album, and it is nice to hear this consistency from an artist that has been around since 1996. The only difference between their initial sound and now is the use of evolving technology- other than that, you can expect the same result from Less Than Jake. Overall, I am going to give this record a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoy the album, for it places me in the mood and the mindframe that all of their releases do. I would love to see the artist step out a bit, but their music is so solid and uniquely theirs that I can understand the “sticking with tradition” mentality. 

Top Tracks:

“The Test”, “Dear Me”, and “So Much Less”

I believe as one listens to the record in its entirety, it can be heard that most selections resonate in a similar light. These tracks happen to be the ones that bop a bit harder than the rest. This may be a result of the heightened instrumentals, memorable and catchy lyrics, and (or)  just the overall authentic SKA vibe that is rooted in each part of the make. I recommend going for the full experience- the record isn’t too long anyways, but if you just want a taste: start here!

The Artwork:

Similar to their last release, it is evident that the band is taking their characteristic aesthetic and innovating it to fit the current 2020 music scene. As one looks at the artwork, it can easily be said that this cover art screams “we are a SKA band!!!”, and there is nothing wrong with that- especially not when you’re jumping into a Less Than Jake album. The cover art depicts a circle split horizontally- one side resonating in color, the other in black, grey, and red. The circle appears to be filled with sketched squiggles with different instruments heard throughout the record emerging in the imagery. All in all, the artwork is quite inviting: let’s dive in to see if the music matches the cover. As one listens to the album, there isn’t a huge poetic and philosophical connection to the artwork that falls on the front. The main connection lies with the instrumentation that was alluded on the front cover. However, one could argue that the band provides this dichotomy of emotions on the record, which would sit well with the contrasting colors found on the front. Overall, I would say that the two work nicely together, but the connection isn’t anything innovative. With that being said, though, this artwork is very Less Than Jake, so it will accompany their discography nicely. 

*”Silver Linings” was released on December 11th, 2020 through Pure Noise Records.

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