Less Than Jake

In with the Out Crowd

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By 2006, it pretty much goes without saying that Less Than Jake have seasoned-veteran status within the third wave of ska-punk revivalists. Over the years, they've done it smarter and catchier than most, which is presumably why they've succeeded in staying so relevant in a here today, gone tomorrow music scene. In with the Out Crowd comes as their proper follow-up to 2003's Anthem (B Is for B-Sides just consisted of extra songs that didn't make Anthem's final cut), and though it's not the strongest album they've ever released, it's still another enjoyable release to add to their notable back catalog. "Soundtrack of My Life" and "A Still Life Franchise" kick things off on the right foot, the latter scampering to light ska upbeats before culminating in an exuberant dose of brass-lined pop-punk. Sonically, the record is more of the same ska-punk-pop blend fans have come to expect with singalong choruses, bouncing guitars, and rhythms that bump and drive. Lyrically, however, while Less Than Jake have always delved into sentiments about both looking ahead and looking back, In with the Out Crowd finds the band generally taking a much more sober and introspective stance. Anthem offered advice to listeners via the band's own weathered experiences; this album is devoted more to the guys reflecting on personal doubts, regrets, and sentiments drawn from life and being in a band together for almost 15 years. Things never get overly serious or somber, as the music remains upbeat and catchy throughout. "The Rest of My Life" brings in some synths for a smooth dose of regret-fueled self-examination, "Mostly Memories" utilizes playful horns, and "Let Her Go" is about the closest LTJ have come in the 2000s to their early material. Though the mall punk of "Overrated (Everything Is)" -- which sounds like a better version of Anthem's "She's Gonna Break Soon" -- could be done without, the record proves to be another satisfying listen from a band that consistently delivers.

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