Less Than Jake

In With The Out Crowd

Written by: PP on 02/06/2006 14:59:16

Oh, where should I start with this band. Less Than Jake are what can be considered living legends in the ska-punk scene with such renowned releases as "Hello Rockview" and "Losing Streak" under their belt, which were all about up-beat ska-punk taking advantage of plenty of trombone and saxophone that added a fun twist to the plain good old three-chord riffs, funny lyrics ("Johnny Quest (Thinks We're Sellouts)" anyone?) and mood uplifting songs that would make you smile on the rainiest, grayest day of the year. So what happened in "In With The Out Crowd"? Their newest full length album falls short of all expectations, and proceeds to lower the band to a level I didn't think was possible after their previous effort "Anthem", which was mediocre at its best.

There are no recognizable highlights on the album. Each and every song sounds like the opening track, as if the band was recycling the song structure over the eleven songs and 35 minutes of pop music. The saxophone and trombone are used far too sparingly, making it questionable whether the band even aligns with the ska-punk genre at all on the new album.

But what really ticked me off was the lowest act a rock band can ever commit: to use professional hit-writers to compose more than just a couple of the songs on the album (Did you run out of ideas guys?). "Soundtrack Of My Life" was written by Shelly Peiken - the person behind Christina Aguilera's hits -, and "Overrated" was written by Holly Knight (Tina Turner's songwriter). The fact that Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 wrote "Rest Of My Life" doesn't really bother me, but they hired POP writers to write SKA-PUNK songs? What were they thinking? As a result, the songs sound boring, uninspired and yes, you guessed it, irredeemably poppy. All verses are unconditionally followed by power choruses where the punchline is repeated ten times in a row, to make sure the masses will never forget the lyircs once they hear the song on the radio. The tempo has been reduced to an unacceptable level, and if you've ever heard "Ask The Magic 8-Ball" you feel like giving the finger to the band.

This is truly an end of an era. Forget "In With The Out Crowd" and "Anthem" and grab a hold of "Losing Streak". The ska-punk classic shouldn't even be mentioned together with the last two absolute failures. Just listen to "How's My Driving, Doug Hasting" or "Lockdown" before listening to the songs from "In With The Out Crowd" and you can't help but cry.

3

Download: "Don't Fall Asleep On The Subway"
For the fans of: Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Catch 22
Listen: Myspace

Release date 23.05.2006
Sire

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