Ska-punk stalwarts Less Than Jake follow their 2013 full-length, See the Light, with their ninth EP, Sound the Alarm. Over seven tracks, the enduring Gainesville quintet remains reliable, delivering trademark "whoa-oh"s and horn blasts that surge with an undeniably positive vibe. Despite the occasionally depressing lyrics, the overall sense of hope reminds listeners to keep fighting for what's to come. Fans will remain sated, while scene nostalgists may crack a wistful grin for these sounds that hark back to the golden '90s third-wave revival. The EP alternates track to track from high-energy punk blasts -- like "Call to Arms" and "Bomb Drop" -- to strutting and restrained midtempo gems like "Welcome to My Life" and "Years of Living Dangerously." The best thing about Sound the Alarm is the Buddy and JR horn section, buffering the EP with enough pep and bounce to keep the mood elevated, especially on highlight "Good Sign." Like other late-era material (think "American Idle"), Sound the Alarm includes all the familiar hallmarks that the faithful will enjoy -- and new fans can easily digest as a primer to delve into their decades-spanning catalog -- executed with subtlety and a confident maturity reflective of their veteran status.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung