Less Than Jake-Greetings And Salutations
To be a functioning, consistent and well-regarded band for twenty years is one hell of a feat and for Floridian heroes Less Than Jake to release an album of such quality as Greetings And Salutations at this point is something to truly behold. Not only that but the quintet's interesting and involving method of releasing ten out of twelve of the songs as a killer one-two punch of EPs last summer and this past winter, two crackers saved exclusively for the album, is a fine example of a veteran band keeping it fresh and enjoyable.
The album itself feels like a celebration of all things LTJ and includes elements from most if not all of their eight album releases over the years. The excitement-teasing fade-in intro of opener The Auld Lang Syne reminds of the full-pelt sky-high chorused likes of old favourites Magnetic North or Welcome To The New South and instantly fills you with joy as guitarist Chris Demakes and bassist Roger Maganelli's dual-vocals come crashing in. Sat alongside this, Goodbye Mr Personality and Done And Dusted have the band's lilting heavy ska-influence on full display while album highlights Harvey Wallbanger and I Can't Yell Any Louder are perfect examples of their irresistible ability to merge pure ska and pure pop-punk seamlessly together. It feels like an LTJ greatest hits, taking in all the different shades and colours that have built up their legacy, anyone who is and has been into the band will find much to love here.
Drummer and band member-in-chief Vinnie Fiorello's wonderful and frank story-telling lyrics are also standardly brilliant, as with the cross-section of sounds, taking in feelings of triumph "that's where we do it all again", defiance "do your worst I'll survive another year", sad introspection "these days are gone, done and dusted, and I don't want to think about it", self-deprecating humour "thankyou Harvey Wallbanger, St Jameson keeps helping me" and, above all, the idea of always finding that optimism even if it seems to have completely vanished "let's have a toast for living now". It feels as if the band are looking all the way back and toasting everything they've given to the world over the past twenty years in both word and sound and it feels utterly great to listen to.
Ska-punk may be a genre that comes few and far between these days but through never being tied down or pigeonholed by it or any other genre they've taken under their wing, Less Than Jake have a twenty year legacy that anyone would and should be proud of and are still going mighty strong. That's something that should be recognised and revered.