CD Review: Less Than Jake – TV/EP
Reviewed by: Ryan Labbe
We’ve seen the fun side of Less than Jake before. From the Greased EP, which contained covers of songs from the movie Grease, to their version of The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You” from the Scream 2 Soundtrack, as well as their numerous albums, Less Than Jake is pop/punk ska force to be reckoned with.
With TV/EP the band (comprised of guitarist/vocalist Chris Demakes, bassist/vocalist Roger Manganelli, drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello, trombonist Buddy Schaub and saxophonist Peter “JR” Wasilewski) rock through a collection of favorite TV show theme songs and commercial jingles with 16 songs or “channels.” The cross-generational EP covers recent favorites such as “iCarly” and “Malcolm in the Middle” to classics like “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Scooby Doo”, and “Pac Man Cereal”, all done up in Less than Jake’s true pop/punk ska style.
The album opens with “iCarly,” an upbeat number that, if you didn’t know better, you might think was an actual Less than Jake song, complete with a stellar horn section and the trademark melodies and hooks that the band is so good at.
Other highlights include a hilariously accurate “Spongebob Squarepants,” a raucously enjoyable “Animaniacs” and an uplifting “Laverne & Shirley.”
The album closes with the original song in the increasingly annoying “Free Credit Report,” series, though the tune comes across as fun and likeable when Less than Jake put their personal touches on it.
At just over 11 minutes, TV/EP is a fun throwaway album from a great band, though its lasting value, like many albums of this type, is debatable. I am hoping that this is the band’s way of whetting fans’ appetites for a new album. Their last album, GNV FLA, was released over two years ago and TV/EP serves as a reminder that this new decade needs a whole lot more Less than Jake.