Now well into their forties, Less Than Jake continue to pump out ska punk like it’s going out of fashion – let’s face it, the genre hasn’t been on-trend for over two decades now! With that said, the band’s staying power is admirable, and they remain a millennial ska punk flagship.
Teetering on the edge of mainstream success in the early noughties, Less Than Jake might now be less than young, but they can still rock a youthful sounding track. Unlike fellow ska punk diluters, Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish, Less than Jake were one of few bands whose unique selling point was strictly ska punk; they didn’t just dabble, they owned it.
Need Some Shaking doesn’t stand on ceremony. Hurtling straight in with horns, before frantically embarking on a vocally staccato verse, the start of the song is best described as unhinged. However, this lack of containment is soon resolved by an enjoyable and memorable chorus.
Sharing the vocal duties to meet the needs of the song has always been a forte of Chris DeMakes and Roger Lima. DeMakes’s spikey sound in the verse compliments Lima’s melodic, nasally notes perfectly. Need Some Shaking is amongst the best example of this selfless ‘for the music’ ethos.
And then, before you know it, the track is over. Perhaps the track length – 2 minutes and 33 seconds – is long enough? Somehow, it would be reasonable to assume that the average Less Than Jake fan would be grateful of an extra one minute. This is an offering that requires a couple of listens before it’s appreciated; perhaps because of its short length?
Need Some Shaking is a not revolution in Less Than Jake’s sound – it’s not even an evolution – but it is quality, nonetheless. Production values might have skyrocketed since the band’s inception, but their mantra of producing music for the marginalised has remained unscathed. Loyal fans of the band will find solace and nostalgic warmth in Need Some Shaking, and those new to the band will not recoil in disapproval.