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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less Than Jake go back to the well....,
Less Than Jake have gone back to the well for their seventh full-length studio album `GNV FLA' which is also their first non-major label album since 2000's Borders and Boundaries. After the poor reception received by many fans for `In With the Out Crowd.' The albums title is a reference to their home state of Gainesville Florida. The sense of homecoming truly brings the Less Than Jake sound full circle however; it would unfair to compare it to their older works like `Hello Rockview' or `Pezcore'. If anything, the album strikes a middle ground between `Borders and Boundaries' and `Anthem' and some slick production values.
The strength of any Less Than Jake album is their ability to mix up the styles of songs. Opening track `City of Gainesville' will surprise many on first listen as it offers a slow and fully striped down Less Than Jake, before fully dipping it's toe in the waters of the familiar sound in the rest of the album. The third track of the record `Does the Lion City Still Roar' (slated as the first single) has all the core elements to be a true classic. It sets the precedent for the rest of the album of upbeat ska grooves and bouncy choruses.
`GNV FLA' is by far their most consistent offering since `Borders and Boundaries' and an album even the most hardened Less Than Jake fan would find it hard to fault this album too much. With a clock in time of 35 minutes, the album never seems to drag on longer then it should do. The oddest choice on the album is probably the forty- second track `The Life of the Party Has Left the Building' that really acts as nothing more then filler between two strong tracks (This One's Going to leave a bruise and Devil in my DNA).
Less Than Jake have turned back the clock and produced an album that will please old and new fans alike.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LTJ GNV,
Gainsville Florida is yet another uptempo high energy offering for the southern skapunk outfit. The tracks fly by with precise impact and echo back to earlier tunes, so If youre into LTJ then you know what to expect for all other ska or punk fans out there an offering not to be missed
5.0 out of 5 stars They stride on still strong,
This review is from: Gnv Fla (Audio CD)
Less Than Jake are a band that just keep getting better as they go on with each record, and i cant say that this band have a single fault. This Album starts off with the brilliant City of Gainesville and then blends in brilliantly to the The State Of Florida, and from then on the album keeps up the tempo and doesnt lose the fun through out. A brillaint band with yet another outstanding album.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any and all Less Than Jake CD's deserve a 5,
The booklet that comes with this CD is now my favourite book of poetry. Vinnie's always been my favourite lyricist, but he's just surpassed himself. I think Less Than Jake should always release albums with some kind of concept (their best CD is Hello Rockview you see, whatever anyone says). When Vinnie's focused on a subject (in this CD Gainsville for the most part) and he's writing about something meaningful to him, something incredible just happens. Many themes run throughout the album, mostly focusing on city life, there's drugs and religion, but many are much closer to Vinnie, just look at Abandon Ship,Handshake... hell the entire middle of the album. And it all climaxes in the final three songs which merge together as a few of the songs on this release do, which seems to be a development on Anthem's final song, and not as people who like to pretend they 'know loads about music' will say, 'a bit like greenday did'. Particularly it all climaxes brilliently with Devil in my DNA which most reviewers seem to be overlooking, but the lyrics in this song just carry so much emotion, and I love the melody that Roger and Chris have given the words. What I love about Hello Rockview and now GNV FLA, aided by the clear messages due to a focused concept, is that listening to it is almost like having an entire novel beamed into your head in just over thirty minutes.
Now I don't want that huge outpour of love to make people think that the only thing worthwile about Less Than Jake is their lyricist. NO NONONONONO. I love ska/punk and Less Than Jake have always done it best, they've moved away from it, and still sounded great in Anthem and IWTOC, but I think ska/punk is where they need to stay. Roger's basslines are great, they were what kept their old albums interesting and varied when the ska sound could become too similar song to song, although the bass seems less prevalent on this disk.
The main complaint I can see from people reviewing this album is that the songs sound too similar it gets monotonous. These people are mostly (if not all) total idiots who have probably only listened to the album once, and not really 'listened' to it at all. That said, they do have a point, of sorts. Hearing some real ska riffs ala losing streak throughout the album was great, but the songs could sometimes drift into generic pop-punk riffs that were pretty unexciting and marred some songs, but this doesn't happen often and chris and co mix it up quite a bit with metal influences and some really 'hooky' (did I just coin that? I don't really like it.) riffs and progressions. Oh crap, I'm making it sound like I know a lot about music, I don't. Less Than Jake guys, feel free to slap me. I think that maybe this was a concious decision in a way, the emphasis of this album, I think, seems to be on the lyrics with the band running through the words without a lot of tinkering around repeating verses and whatnot. The other reason I think that people are getting this 'samey' vibe is that while this album has incredible lyrics and some really really great songs, there arn't really many instant all out classics, it's just very very consistant. This is why it ranks only as my third favourite album after Rockview and Losing Streak.
While I'm on a rediculously long rant, I'll go ahead and talk about Less Than Jake's 'sound'. I'm not going to use any of these horrible cliches I see lazy reviewers who obviously made their minds up about the album before they read it and use terrible buzzwords such as 'bouncy', 'fun', 'horn driven', 'adrenalin fuled', or 'skankalicious' or something rediculous, all this rubbish about 'this song is good at a party', that's just insane, I don't listen to Less Than Jake for party music, it's fun and uplifting yes, but I listen to share in the experiences of a man I admire and to listen to good musicions. All that la de da can go to hell.
Here's what Less Than Jake's got going for them: Catchy, upbeat, punk. The best melody based punk you'll find I'll go so far to say. It's not too pop, it's not just noise, and it's not so simple your mentally challenged five year old could play it. Ska, everyone should love ska, but there's not as much of it as you'd think (not saying this is a bad or good thing). Two incredibly talented singers, which is bizaarely rare for a punk band; Roger and Chris compliment each other beautifully. An incredible lyricist. Horns, and damn good players/writers for them.
So here you go, my final stand against people wishing to dismiss this band as frivolous childish, or party music, or whatever. I guess everyone seeing the length of this will think I'm insane. Oh well, at least I just stopped short of burning like a torch, and made a fool out of myslef on the internet instead.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They may be going broke, but they're never broken down!,
Being a die-hard LTJ fan, i opted for the limited edition box set complete with DVD, 3 vinyls and the ultra-long CD with various early mixes and bonus tracks, but they are all just icing on the perfectly-mixed cake that is GNV-FLA:
The sound of the album fits it somewhere between B&B and Anthem with regards to the way the guitars and horns cut through (Nice addition of trumpet on several songs too courtesy of RBF's Scott Klopfenstein). It is clear that the band have lost the ball-and-chain of the major label and are back in the driving seat, even re-recruiting their old sax player Derron to record some of the songs for them.
Opening track City of Gainesville is a nice Dopeman-esque intro to the album and also to the 2nd track State Of Florida which really kicks off the balls-out feel of the whole album. As with almost every single album that has ever existed, there are bound to be a couple of filler songs, namely Abandon Ship and Malachi Richter's Liquor's Quicker, but even these aren't without their charms once you give them a chance, and Vinnie's almost obsessive use of the word 'Conviction' comes to a high with the song Conviction Notice! [If you own Reel Big Fish's Show Must Go Off DVD and have listened to Scott and Aaron's commentary on Down In Flames, they mention that they wrote that song to sound like LTJ, and I think this is LTJ's answer to it. If you have that DVD, watch that song now and then listen to Conviction notice and you'll see it straight away.]
Also, on that subject, 'The Space They Can't Touch' sounds like they have used the exact same formula for Metalheads, but with different lyrics etc. Musicians will notice the similarities: bassline (and guitar doubling it in the verse), long, high horn notes in the chorus, same key change, little breaks in the verse for a horn phrase, you name it.
Despite these (I admit-very picky) greivances, I love this album. There's something for every LTJ fan, yet the album still maintains it's own identity with its feelgood, horn-driven skanky songs, faster-paced punk songs, that signature Chris/Roger vocal pairing that is at the heart of the band's identity is on top form, and in JR they have finally found the perfect saxophonic complement to Buddy's trombone which seems to have eluded them for so long (I know he was on the last 2 albums, but the aforementioned major-label ball-and-chain dampened the horns down a bit)
The last 2 songs on the album (before the bonus track Antidote for the Underdog - which rules by the way) are merged together rather nicely with 'The Life Of The Party Has Left The Building' - a chilled out little segway between 2 songs that are the total opposite of that, a very nice touch.
In wrapping this up, I will simply say that if you are into LTJ enough to be reading this review in the first place, then you must buy this album, and those that went to the '6 Albums...' shows in London will wish this had been released before then to see this on the stage.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back On The Saddle,
GNV FLA is LTJ's latest offering, and it's definately a step in the right direction. Their last outing (In With The Out Crowd) saw a mauling from fans (myself included), as LTJ seemed to sell out big time. Half of the album was so sickly that I had to take breaks inbetween on my initial listen to stop myself throwing up. The other half would've been fine had it not been for the 'popped' up sound production, especially on the vocals and horns. It was just cringing to listen to.. I really wasn't going to buy this album at all..
..but as it happened, I got bought it as a birthday present in Summer so.. yeah. I wasn't complaining mind you - free s00f pl0x!
Anyway, initial listen of GNV was a good one. I sat with a smile on my fave for the hour it was playing because it was so, so SOO much better than IWTOC, and closely resembling Anthem in the sound quality, which is still a bit to 'sweet' for my liking, but definately listenable. Horns were nicely prodominant on most (if not all) songs, which is a bonus - and the tour to support the album was an absolute gem. The lads are back; Long Live The Jake!
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