Ya know, I really wanted to dislike this cd. There's a part of me that can't deal with what's being called "punk" these days. I mean, I grew up on The Clash, Ramones and The Sex Pistols. This (Green Day, Blink 182, Sum 41, NOFX, etc) is punk?
But that same part of me is worried that his parents' words are finally coming out of his own danged mouth....those words being a variant of "it all sounds the same to me".
So I've come around to thinking that it's a waste of time arguing about the "purity" of this stuff: look for something to enjoy and just get over it!
Less Than Jake comes from the ska/punk side of the "new" punk. The horns on Anthem take on a supporting role. Not a back thing, 'cause the guitar is pretty damn rockin'...particularly on "She's Gonna Break Soon" and the scorching "Short Fuse Burning".
While grooving along on their 4-chord power pop it struck me that this stuff is a lot more personal than most of my "real" punk. They also seem to lack that nihilism, which is a good thing (tho I've gotta admit that I enjoyed Rotten snarling out "Bodies" during those Friday night college beer fests).
Two things finally won me over. The first was that they feature artwork from indie artists based on each tune's lyrics. How cool is that? A great gesture and... they actually care about the liner notes. A rarity in the cd age. The "last straw" was the smokin' cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender": a song that cannot be turned up too loud and definitely a pop anthem.
(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)