Less Than Jake - In With the Out Crowd
Release Date: May 23, 2006
Record Label: Warner Bros. Records
First, let me start with a little background. I have been a huge fan of Less Than Jake, although I have only unfortunately seen them in concert twice. Whenever I am down, Less Than Jake is a band I can always go to, play their music loud, and it will make me feel better. Whether it is because their songs pick me up emotionally or because they give me the feeling that someone else has been in the same position—they have worked their way into my top five bands of all time. Each album has its own intricacies and personal significance. Unlike what seems to be the majority, I really enjoyed Anthem as well as Borders and Boundaries, the two albums that get their fair share of hate (The two prior to that, Hello Rockview and Losing Streak are excellent). In fact, I’ve even fallen in love with the Anthem outtakes, which were released in a 14-song disc titled B is for B-Sides. That is not to say I feel they can do no wrong, but more often than not they come through in the clutch with awesome songs for us to fall in love with.
You know that this bunch of thirty-something rockers are flirting with the idea of being a bit jaded when many of the themes discussed on In With the Out Crowd revolve around normalcy and in some cases (such as the lead single, “Overrated”) disapproval of the excesses that so many other bands find an everyday part of their lives. That is not to say the band have lost their touch with reality—they have just refined their outlook on it. Since transitioning more to the punk-ska side of things from ska-punk (I actually had a discussion with Marc Orrell of Dropkick Murphys regarding the distinctions between these two “sub-genres” last year), Less Than Jake are on album number two. With less focus on horns (similar to Anthem), instead they write some catchy tunes on the strength of the guitar, bass, and drums with horn accents. Songs like the rock ‘n roll anthem “Fall Apart” don’t even use horns, but still manage to demolish the competition. Another hard-rocking song is “Landmines and Landslides,” which has serious radio potential. There is a little bit of accentuation with horns in the chorus, but Chris, Roger, and Vinnie leap to the forefront. The band shows their maturation on the album’s standout, the beautiful (yes, I described a Less Than Jake song as “beautiful”) “Rest of My Life,” Vinnie’s ode to his grandfather. Heart wrenching, the song plays a bit like a fuller version of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Broadway” while at the same time retaining LTJ’s familiar sound. These guys sure know how to write a tune. Maybe now that they are more visibly wearing their hearts on their sleeves, listeners will give them some of the respect they have so rightfully deserved for more than 10 years.
Originally, I think I would have written a glowing review of In With the Out Crowd when I originally received it several months ago. After reading an advance review or two, I read something that Vinnie wrote about how it took the band 18 days to record the CD, and he wishes that everyone would spend the same amount of time before making any judgments. I took at least twice that long before writing this. I feel like this album is a grower in the purest sense of the term. The catchy songs you will pick up quickly, but you may not be too keen on the rest at first. Give the album about two or three weeks of repeated listens before you use it as a coaster.
It is simply undeniable how catchy the majority of the songs on In With the Out Crowd are. While the album isn’t flawless by any means with a few songs that absentmindedly bleed together or don’t hit the spot just right, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in this case. Lyrically, they have progressed, but many of us will hope they eventually explore their musical capacity by reintroducing the horns in excess. Frankly, this is not Losing Streak or Hello Rockview, but those influences ring true, especially when added to the alternative rock feel of their next two albums. Crank the volume, sit back, and rock out with one of your best (and most mature) summer albums of ’06, courtesy of Gainesville’s finest—Less Than Jake. I know I will.
i'm honestly really disappointed with this at this moment. i feel no substance at all. i listened to it at least 12 times because they are one of my favorite bands.
i don't know. i'll try.
i think "rest of my life" is an amazing song. other than that, this album is doing nothing for me. but it's like a pattern for them to release two great records then one that just isn't (borders and boundaries was awful imo).
man oh man. this cd makes me want to shit. i listened to the songs that they had on their website before i bought the cd and i knew it was gonna be bad. but i had no idea what i was in for. any long-time fans will tell you that this is the worst album to date. whats with all this whimpering and crying? i want some angry yelling and A FUCKING HORN SECTION. anyone who likes this album is no better than the band is for making it. Now instead of having some diehard punk/ska fans comming to the shows they will have little ten year old girls who listen to fallout boy. Great job less than jake. Im ashamed to share my name with you guys.