unregistered, on january 08, 2004 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: One of Less Than Jake's first albums. It features the basic punk/ska sound that you can depend on, but it always has a happy feel to it. Has some of the best bass work (by Roger) that I have ever heard in a rock band. Simply a pleasure to listen to. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics are good, but they are short. The same lyrics come in, in the first and second and sometimes third verse. Yet they are good lyrics, and you can find yourself singing them if you don't be careful. // 8
Overall Impression: In my opinion this is Less Than Jake's best album. If you like Reel Big Fish, and Sublime you will love this album. Worth every cent that you pay. Just wait until you see these guys play these songs in concert! // 10
928GTS, on february 08, 2005 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Seeing how this is their first major label release on Capitol the sound has been cleaned up quite a bit from (although at times a bit long winded) Pezcore. The horns are still just as prominent as they were in Pezcore, maybe a bit louder. The key is that the tunes they play are more dynamic and more fitting to the song and now really add to the song itself. An example of this would be the quiet intro of the horns on "Shindo" which makes the song a bit more heartfelt for lack of a better word. Another example would be the bright, happy demeanor they add to the album's opener "Automatic."
In terms of the sound as a whole I would say Losing Streak is leaning quite a bit more towards ska than Pezcore whereas if Pezcore was 60% punk and 40% ska I'd say Losing Streak is more towards 40% punk and 60% ska though just because one of the songs may not contain any ska style guitar doesn't mean they don't bust out the horns which is always good. In a sense this is, in my opinion, LTJ at their height because they combined the brash, distortion driven power chord chorus' of punk and the upbeat, laidback verses of ska into a single package which comes out sounding great. Pezcore itself is great if one is in the mood for more skatepunk oriented music in terms that in some songs the pace is really rather quick. After Losing Streak LTJ never really was the same again, Hello Rockville was too mainstream sounding and they really lost their way when it came to nailing that same mix of punk and ska that they did so well on Losing Streak not to mention the horns were overly amplified making them sound almost like synthesizers.
In terms of musicianship LTJ is pretty tight. The drumming is a bit basic but it's an improvement over Pezcore, the guitar work is good as well even if it has lost that hard edged, scratchy roar that debuted on Pezcore which is typical of albums recorded on a lower budget on an indie label, the bass work of Roger is what really drives a lot of songs with it's smooth rhythm and fancy fretwork. // 10
Lyrics: Ok so this song isn't going to win any awards for deepest lyrics but they're well crafted in their simplicity and still present relevant messages about teenage life and the struggles one goes through. The singer, Chris, although some may think his voice isn't very good, fits well in the fast pace nature of Less Than Jake and adds a sense of believability to the songs. The chorus of each song is sung in such a manner that you remember them and you find yourself randomly humming them throughout the day, they know how to make a song stick in your head.
Another benefit of simple lyrics is that they tell a story that everyone can understand, you can almost picture yourself in the situation they're describing. An example of this would be "Krazy Glue." Also in the mentioned song above Chris really belts it out here vocally and it shows, when it comes to the high notes, he can hit them well. Overall if you go into this album not expecting anything spectacular you'll be rewarded with lyrics that tell a story and that can you relate to, not something that you have to spend half an hour after the song trying to figure out what it means. // 10
Overall Impression: In terms of how it ranks with other albums I'd say this is LTJ at their best. Pezcore was a great start and showed how much potential they had at the time and it's great when one is in the mood for some faster tempoed music. Hello Rockville, in my eyes, was far too commercial and sounded too cleaned up and watered down. There are a few songs worth mentioning on Hello Rockville like "help save the youth of America from exploding" but such songs are rare. "Anthem" was when LTJ totally, utterly and completely sold out. While Hello Rockville still kept most of the ska in the overall sound, Anthem almost does away with it completely in favor of MTV friendly pop punk that just doesn't work at all. Even the efforts at Ska on Anthem are woeful in comparison to the masterpieces that exist on Losing Streak.
In a word this is a classic ska album with a few special extras attached to it that make each listen special. If this was stolen I'd probably let whoever took it keep it and just buy myself a new copy because even they deserve to hear Losing Streak, it is that good. This album is also really good party material because it's so easy to dance (read: skank) to. Some songs that take special mention are:
01. Automatic - a bouncy summer anthem that anyone can get into, great party material.
02. 9th At Pine - for some reason this song reeks of 1996 and I don't know why, also reminds me of summer.
03. Sugar In Your Gas Tank - the last 1/4 on the song really rocks.
04. Shindo - the intro is really pretty and then the rapid fire drums come online and turns it into a real rocker. The occasional appearance of the trademark ska guitar keeps things light and upbeat.
05. Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts - the beginning of the song borders on being completely silly but it soon turns serious with the verse's lyrics concerning how some people thought that LTJ sold out by going major label and what LTJ thinks of those people, the chorus is a corker.
06. Krazy Glue - the interlude on this one is really something else.
07. Lockdown - how can you not love the horn rhythm in this one? // 10
JL2085, on february 09, 2005 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The sound is sort of raw, but if your a ska fan then thats a good thing. It does have better recording quality from their earlier releases. It has as many horns as you could ask for, and enjoy it because they have started to lose the horns on every CD after this. Almost all ska with a little bit of pop punk mixed. The raw sound does take a little while to get used to if your used to listening to high quality radio songs. Any long time Less Than Jake fan, ska fan, or punk fan will love this. // 10
Lyrics: Not exactly the most creative, but funny and flowing in times. You can tell on a few tracks they didnt try all that hard, like on "Krazy Glue" they repeat the words "tradition seems to stick" for about a minute strait. And "Johnny Quest Thinks Were Sellouts" sends a cool message, but lacks any creativity. Almost every other song the words mostly rhyme, and are explicit, flowing, and fun. The hidden track on the intro (rewinding at the first track) is one of the funniest joke tracks I've ever heard. Overall the lyrics are decent. Some tracks are almost just random rhyming phrases with no meaning, but if you want meaningful lyrics go buy a backstreet boys cd right? // 8
Overall Impression: Overall it is one of the best ska albums of the '90s and '00s. Great CD if you wanna be in a good mood. I think it about barely beats Reel Big Fish's "Why Do They Rock So Hard" which is also one of my favorite ska albums ever. I love how it never whines, just fun the whole way through. Standout tracks are 9th And Pine, Sugar In Your Gas Tank, Never Going Back, Hows My Driving Doug Hastings, Dopeman, and Rock And Roll Pizzariea. Better than all these new Cds that claim to be ska that are powerchords with horns in the background. This is almost all ska chords, and horns dominate the sound. It's fast, raw, and explicit - it's ska. // 10