Follow Us on Twitter

Less Than Jake - GNV FLA

Less Than Jake, GNV Fla

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

FOR their follow-up to 2006’s In With The Out Crowd, Less Than Jake have gone back to their roots and embraced the ska-infused punk that helped to make a name for them in the first place.
Hence, GNV FLA, named after their hometown of Gainesville, Florida, is a boisterous offering of bouncy ska grooves and horns galore that’s designed to throw off the shackles of more recent work, as well as the studio system.

Indeed, the release of the LP marks the debut of their first new material on the new self-owned and controlled indie label Sleep It Off Records, which is licensed to Cooking Vinyl in the UK. Just last month, for instance, the label re-released four of the band’s early titles with expanded DVD content – Pezcore; Goodbye Blue & White; Losers, Kings and Things We Don’t Understand and the DVD The People’s History of Less Than Jake.

Embarking on a whole new journey as independent artists in control of their own destiny, Less Than Jake have now decided to re-embrace the ‘traditional’ LTJ sound and, by their own admission, come full circle to remember their humble beginnings when they were scrapping up money from gigs to augment their Pez collections.

Recorded at Atlas Studios in Chicago and produced by Matt Allison (Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, The Falcom), the ensuing album will undoubtedly be embraced by the earliest followes of the band. But it’s also, sadly, a one-trick pony.

No matter how much enthusiasm has been poured into the tracks, there’s simply not enough variety. Most, if not all, seem to do the same thing – ie, bright horns, thunderous drums, crunching guitar riffs and a full speed ahead mentality. It’s all very Frat-boy, college-campus orientated and what begins as infectious soon becomes tiring.

Things begin brightly with the horn intro and calypso guitars of City of Gainesville, which waits before exploding to life around the midway point, while Malachi Richter’s Liquor Quicker is actually a pretty decent punk rocker that benefits from a few less horns and not as much ska. The Life of the Party Has Left The Building, meanwhile, is a welcome change of pace that slows things down (but only lasts a little over 30 seconds), and Devil In My DNA ends things with an upbeat party vibe that, again, offers a more straightforward form of punk rock.

But in the main this is a riot of noise and energy that fails to offer much variety. And with 15 tracks to wade through, it’s also a very long listen.

Download picks: City of Gainesville, Devil In My DNA, The Life of the Party Has Left The Building, Malachi Richter’s Liquor Quicker

Track listing:

  1. City Of Gainesville
  2. The State Of Florida
  3. Does the Lion City Still Roar?
  4. Summon Monsters
  5. Abandon Ship
  6. Handshake Meets Pokerface
  7. Settling Son
  8. Malachi Richter’s Liquor’s Quicker
  9. Golden Age Of My Negative Ways
  10. The Space They Can’t Touch
  11. Conviction Notice
  12. This One’s Gonna Leave A Bruise
  13. The Life Of The Party Has Left The Building
  14. Devil In My DNA
  15. Antidote for The Underdog