Ah. The Apple iTunes Music Store releases an exclusive EP that I want. Bastards. My love/hate relationship with Apple grows everyday, and this just adds to the love. Less Than Jake has been a perennial favorite of mine for going on 8 years now. Through the good times and bad, they have consistently put out quality releases (although Anthem...) and are still one of my favorite shows to see. So getting a chance to hear Roger and Chris dualing guitars unplugged was a chance that I was willing to pay for.
Since there are only four tracks, I figured I'd do it track-by-track to make things easier:
Overall, these are four tracks that any Less Than Jake fan should have. Are they tracks that everyone should run to their computers and buy from the iTunes Music Store? Probably not. However, for four bucks, you are definitely getting your money's worth.
- Suburban Myth - Dual guitars sound good, really good honestly. Chris's voice is more on than it is normally. The upbeat rhythm sounds really good on acoustic. Roger carries his parts really well.
- The Ghosts of You and Me - The best track on here. Not only is it probably the best track off of Anthem, but they really nail it here. A little bit of echo on the mic helps this I think. Roger actually sounds better on this recording, because his voice is tweaked several steps higher by pro-tools this time around. Although his voice does crack at one point, it only adds to what is one of their more "emotive" songs. The breakdowns that are in the song just prior to the chorus are lessened in this recording, due to the obvious limitations of acoustic guitars, but it comes out really well, a softer recording with very nice pickwork in the bridge. Right after the bridge, when the song almost becomes repetitive, they change it up, getting a little more intense, and it ends really well.
- History of a Boring Town - Seminal track off of Hello Rockview. I wasn't that suprised to hear it on here. Missing are the "whooo ooooh's", which I was afraid the crowd would add in. Well, actually I think that they are trying to add them in, however the mics weren't sensitive enough, which is only a good thing in my opinion. This is a Chris heavy song, and I am really suprised how well he carries it. The harmonies on this are the best of the four tracks. Roger adds in the "whooo oooooh's" towards the end which adds to the build up that an acoustic track needs to keep your interest at times.
- Welcome to the New South - Just not a song I like on Anthem. Say what you will, but this song never appealed to me. However, acoustic, this song actually shines. It sounds like it was originally a folk song! Very flowy strumming and sing-songy lyrics may have you swaying a bit by the end. The solo in the middle is soft, reserved and goes amazingly under Chris's bridge lyrics.