Album Review: Less Than Jake – TV/EP

October 13, 2010
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Title: TV/EP
Artist: Less Than Jake
Label: Sleep It Off
Released: 12 October 2010
In one word: Fun

Floridian ska-punk veterans Less Than Jake return with their latest effort, a covers album of TV theme songs and commercial jingles. With its 16 tracks spanning only 13 minutes, this is a quick-fire release with each track separated by that “chk” noise of a TV dial changing.

Having previously released an album of covers from the musical Grease, and a good number of other tributes here and there (Tommy Tutone’s “Jenny (867-5309)” and the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love you” being standouts), arranging classics into the ska-punk style is nothing new for Less Than Jake, and something they do with aplomb.

This disc opens with the band’s take on the Nickelodeon tween sit-com “iCarly”, followed quickly by the “Hungry Hungry Hippos” jingle which makes great use of the band’s horn section. Other noteworthy tracks are the fantastic “Animaniacs” theme which suits Less than Jake’s cartoonish appeal perfectly and includes a little self-deprecation with the line ‘covers are lame-y!’; and the “Married With Children” theme. “Spongebob Squarepants” is also an incredibly fun listen.

Where this EP lets itself down is in some of the song choices. Covering They Might Be Giants’ “Boss of Me” from Malcolm In The Middle seems either cheap or at best a tip-of-the-cap to that band, as little is changed from the original apart from a slight departure from the vocal melody. “Scooby Doo” and “Laverne and Shirley” have both been covered to death by bands of similar genres (the latter even being covered by this band some years ago on their Losers, Kings, and Things We Don’t Understand album). However this is counteracted by some wonderfully obscure choices such as the jingles for Pac-Man Cereal and American website www.freecreditreport.com.

Beautifully mixed by Music Vice favourite Stephen Egerton of Descendents fame, this album even pays tribute to that band’s track “Weinerschitzel”, using its outro for their cover of the McDonalds “Big Mac” song.

Overall though, this is an album that causes an instant smile to grow on the face of the listener and is well worth multiple listens. Here’s hoping a few of these gems get included int he band’s setlist for their upcoming Australian shows as part of the 2011 Soundwave Festival.

The band have also released a video accompaniment to the entire EP, viewable on their official website.

© Steve Pass, Music Vice

What TV themes/jingles would you like to hear covered and by whom? Let us know in the comments section!

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