Less Than Jake – Silver Linings
Released: 11 December 2020
Chris DeMakes // vocals, guitar
Roger Lima // vocals, bass
Buddy Schaub // trombone
JR Wasilewski // saxophone
Matt Yonker // drums
Several scientific studies have revealed that metal other “extreme music” such as punk and hardcore are the best genres to listen for an audience to process their anger and depression. In that case, surely ska, a subset of punk rock is the type of music that goes a step further and amplifies the joy and bliss in a listener’s life? With that in mind, ska, and by extension the pinnacle of modern ska punk, Less Than Jake, is driving down the coast on a warm summer’s day. Or hanging out on an isolated beach with a handful of mates. Or having a drink or two while watching the sunset. And after the year that has been 2020, isn’t that what we all need?
Less Than Jake’s Silver Linings, released six years since their last full-length album, is a ray of metaphorical sunshine, despite many of the songs being more vulnerable and more personal. Opening with a zeal and zest for life, ‘The High Cost of Low Living’, is about embracing what you have, even if it is not much, is pure joy. Even ‘Lie To Me’, with its lyrics of “the flames we hold the closest burn the worse”, is optimistic and hopeful.
The entire album maintains its upbeat, positive vibes, despite some of the bleaker or traditionally darker lyrics, as seen in ‘Keep On Chasing’, ‘Monkey Wrench Myself’ and ‘Dear Me’, which is blatantly an anti-technology school. While songs like ‘Anytime and Anywhere’ and ‘King Of The Downside’, promotes the album’s overall theme of appreciating what you have and the delights of life.
The penultimate song, ‘Bill’ starts off with the stereotypical punk rock chant and is a homage to punk rock royalty, drummer, Bill Stevenson. While the final track, ‘So Much Less’ includes a saxophone solo by Wasilewski, is such a chilled, fun track it is hard not to sway along.
Silver Linings, an album about appreciating the silver linings in each and every one of our lives is the perfect accompaniment for the Aussie summer, and a much needed form of cheerful escapism for the northern hemispheres, specifically those deeply entrenched in the COVID pandemic.
Less Than Jake – Silver Linings tracklisting:
- The High Cost of Living
- Lie To Me
- Keep On Chasing
- Anytime and Anywhere
- The Test
- Dear Me
- Monkey Wrench Myself
- King of Downside
- Lost at Home
- So Much Less