Sound — 10
This album marks a change in direction for Less Than Jake. Not only are they a much more mainstream outfit than a couple of years ago, but the sound has changed too. For a lot of die-hard LTJ fans, this presents a problem. For me, though, it makes the sound even better. Most of the tracks only have small portions of horns, and the focus is less on ska and more on punk. It's catchy, well-produced punk, but it's punk all the same. As Vinnie from the band puts it "Punk rock isn't about politics, punk rock is about opinion". And there are plenty of different opinions on this album. From the reggae feel of "The Science of Selling Yourself Short" to the lightening fast "Short Fuse Burning", this album varies greatly in terms of sound, but still retains some of the old LTJ.
Lyrics — 8
Less Than Jake's lyrics are generally very simple, but also quite effective, more so on this album than any of their others I have heard. The quality of singing has also improved considerably, meaning that "Anthem" is a much more rounded package than previous LTJ efforts.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, it's a very well-produced, diverse and highly listenable album. Perhaps there isn't so much creativity or originality now the sound has been made a little more mainstream. For example, the sounds of "Anthem" are a far cry from the raw, ska appeal of the now legendary "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts". But what makes LTJ so great is that they don't care, and they certainly don't take themselves too seriously. The immaturity does nothing but heighten the appeal of the album. The standout tracks are "She's Gonna Break Soon", "Motown Never Sounded So Good", "Look What Happened" and the excellent reworking of Cheap Trick's "Surrender", which is every bit as good as the original. A class album, whichever way you look at it.