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Less Than Jake Branch Out

Florida rockers go beyond ska on new set

The name Less Than Jake almost automatically means ska, but the Florida quintet, after ten years together, wouldn't mind shorting that connection. Anthem, due April 1st, sees the band experimenting with a broader spectrum of sounds.

"When you're a younger band," explains guitarist Chris (the band doesn't use last names), "you get a formula and it kind of works. You want to give fans what they want, and you paint yourself into corner a little bit. With this record, we were definitely able to branch out."

The album was recorded in New Orleans with producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Butthole Surfers) in sessions fueled by a steady diet of eggs, grits, Po' Boy sandwiches and coffee. The results are such spicy fare as the reggae-flavored "The Science of Selling Yourself Short" and "The Brightest Bulb Is Burned Out," which begins with two minutes of Chris (the band doesn't use last names) on electric guitar.

"Maybe we didn't do it before because maybe we didn't have the song in us," Chris says of his band's newfound desire to innovate. "Now it's like, 'Well, what kind of band are we? Let's push the limits a little bit and do what we want to do.'"

Anthem also features a cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender." "We did really choppy staccato quarter notes with a punk drum beat underneath it," Cavallo says. "It changes the intent of the song, while still being true to the original . . . now it's Less Than Jake."

COLIN DEVENISH
(February 20, 2003)

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