by Less Than JakeLess Than Jake


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Free from a major-label contract and comfortably resting at their own newly created Sleep It Off Records, Less Than Jake do what most bands in similar situations do -- reach back to their roots and prove to fans that, despite any past musical transgressions, the band they loved so much years ago is back. And in doing so, Less Than Jake have essentially created a bittersweet tribute to their hometown of Gainesville, sparing no detail in naming the album GNV FLA, stringing the liner notes together with bleak snapshots of the city, and littering song names and lyrics with nods to both the state of Florida and the beloved college town of their inception. At first glance, it might appear that they're trying just a bit too hard to shed reminders of the recent past -- the shiny pop veneer of 2006's In with the Out Crowd only produced a handful of memorable songs, after all. But thankfully, the throwbacks to Less Than Jake's past run deeper than just the Sunshine State references -- they remember to convincingly bring back the tightened and exuberant ska-punk of their Hello Rockview days; Roger and Chris seamlessly switch off on vocals as driving power chords and sunny ska riffs alternately cut through hammering drumbeats, and high-spirited horns punch their way through it all. Light opener "City of Gainesville" may run on a lackadaisical, totally unassuming groove, but then "The State of Florida" explodes forth with barely a second between songs, disenchanted lyrics spat over a sped-up and charging rhythm section. The punk side of their ska-punk comes front and center and doesn't let up from the caffeinated riffs of "Does the Lion City Still Roar?" to the frantic woahs of "This One Is Going to Leave a Bruise." It's a joyous return for a band many may have already given up on, especially based on the overly sober and distant introspection of their last album. But on GNV FLA, Less Than Jake are still very much alive, and their exuberant, singalong melodies are heightened this time by actually being sung with heart, feeling, and a sense of fondness. Lyrics look back on drunken nights, former frustrations, and wasted hours spent doing nothing but getting through another day, but the mix of regret, defiance, disillusionment, and affection -- coupled, of course, with steamrolling rhythms, giddy guitars, and a resounding horn section -- makes GNV FLA seem like the album Less Than Jake needed to make, not just as a tribute to their past in Gainesville, but as proof to themselves and their fans that they still have it.

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GNV FLA 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ska all-star, Less Than Jake, is back and better and than ever. I've been a Less Than Jake fan for about 2 years and every album of their's I've bought has been outstanding. GNV FLA is no exception. The songs talk about the band's home town of Gainesville (after all, that's the name of the album. The song &quot Does the Lion City Still Roar&quot blew me away. Hopefully it will do the same thing to you.
exploitedpunk More than 1 year ago
I've been a LTJ fan since Losing Streak came out and all of their early recordings, Pezcore through Hello Rockview, absolutely helped define my teenage years. I kept with them through the change of pace of Borders and Boundaries, even the fun but uneven Anthem. Then In With the Out Crowd happened and it just felt like they were giving up on their old fans and embracing a tepid, boring style of pop that just wasn't going to sit well with those of us who still scream along to My Very Own Flag. But they did and it didn't, forcing many of us towards that decision of giving up on the band. I even stopped wearing my LTJ shirts because I was embarassed to be associated with that album. But then GNV FLA came and yanked me right back in to proud LTJ support. I was hooked from the moment the great City of Gainesville went flying into the old-school hyperactivity of The State of Florida and loved almost every minute after, particularly the closing 3 tracks whose lyrics almost sound as if they're thanking all of the diehards for sticking by them and promising them more of their best in the years to come. This entire album sounds like it could have come out between Hello Rockview and Borders and Boundaries, taking the best elements of each and shedding the very few aspects of those albums that didn't work as well. Plus, the horns are FINALLY brought back from the land of major-label overproduction after being horribly missing for most of the last 2 albums! This album is an excellent return to what made LTJ legends in the first place and goes a long way towards making up for the disappointment that was In With The Out Crowd.