Less Than Jake - In with the Out Crowd (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Less Than Jake

In with the Out Crowd (2006)


Never did I think the day would come when the thought of reviewing an album by Less Than Jake would be a chore. It's not just the writing -- it's the listening. Stop me if you've heard this one before, but LTJ's best days are behind them. In with the Out Crowd arguably deserves a fair amount of scrutiny as it takes the direction established with Anthem and runs it straight through modern radio rock's filter.

It's tempting to take any album that breaks the last pieces of your heart apart song by song, but the reality is that In with the Out Crowd is just a mash of half-assed attempts at recapturing a sound ("Let Her Go"), radio-pop pandering ("Soundtrack of My Life"), frightening Bryan Adams worship ("Hopeless Case") and odd stylistic adventures ("The Rest of My Life"). It's actually these stylistic departures that serve the album the best, as you so completely divorce yourself from the reality that this is the band that wrote the anthems to our adolescence. The highlight for fans of their previous material is the opening ska guitar / hornplay on "Still Life Franchise," complete with Hammond B3 organ in the chorus.

Maybe I'm just getting old and jaded, but this was Less Than Jake's second chance and they blew it. Anthem looks positively classic compared to the songs contained on In with the Out Crowd. It's just uninspired. The album closes with "P.S.: Shock the World" and starts out much like the hype for this album did: traces of the upbeat, peppiness of the days of yore with a bit of mature melancholy. It finishes much the same way that LTJ has decided to end their career, at least in my eyes: a repetitive chorus with little to no substance. There was so much promised by Vinnie for this album and there is some potential in many of the tracks on here, but the band just fails to deliver.

I think that this album officially closes the book on the Gainesville band for me. Thanks for the ride, guys.