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Music Review: Less Than Jake - GNV FLA

This is a review that I wrote for another website of Less Than Jake's new album "GNV FLA". It looks like it might be a while before the other site posts it, but if they don't publish, I'm not letting it go to waste, so here it is.

Less Than Jake is not a band for everyone. Opinions vary from person to person, and there’s no doubt a strong fan base and a strong hate base. Let me start off by saying that I’m a mix of both. I love the entire album of “Hello Rockview”, I consider it my favorite album. But all the rest of their stuff is not so great.

They’ve joined major labels in the past, and the result is crap like “ In with the Out Crowd”. More pop and less ska is a losing formula for this band. But now they’ve started their own label (Sleep It Off Records) and they’re putting the control back in their own hands. And that’s a very good thing.

Since their last album, GNV FLA is a refreshing look at Less Than Jake. I think the band realized that the people want the ska, and this album takes Less Than Jake back to the traditional ska-punk sound. Catchy horns and solid riffs throughout this album gives you more tunes to skank to at a LTJ show. Less Than Jake returns to a winning formula with this album: upbeat songs + lots of ska + some punk = a solid album.

Now, you may be wondering if this album is the latest tourist campaign from a town in Florida. The album is named after Gainesville, Florida, and a good portion of the songs on the album are also about this city. “Does the Lion City Still Roar?” is probably the first song you’ve heard off this album, yet it’s weird that they used this as a single because it’s definitely not one of the best songs on the album. “Abandon Ship” and “Conviction Notice” are two songs that would have maybe been a better pick, because they are a lot more upbeat. That being said, there are quite a lot of upbeat songs on this album, which is always a good thing.

The only really bad song on this album is “The Life Of The Party Has Left The Building”. It’s not really a song, more like a minute’s worth of distorted music and probably could have been left off the album. It’s like they said, “Hey, we have 13 songs, but we want 14, quickly make a song and throw it in there!” Other than that, most of the songs are pretty decent, and have some great sing-a-long parts and stuff like that. The problem with this album is that not too much stands out, and this album probably won’t be considered the next ska masterpiece. But after I’ve listened to it a couple more times, I’ll probably enjoy it more (that’s how I got to like Streetlight Manifesto).

When I started listening to this album, all I was hoping for was another “Hello Rockview”. GNV FLA isn’t quite that, but it’s definitely a giant step into the right direction. To sum is all up, my friend Cameron says it best, “This is definitely the kind of sound LTJ should be going for, but nothing really stands out here.”

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