Like another reviewer of this CD, I have never written an Amazon review, but felt compelled to since, frankly, there are too many negative reviews for what is, in my opinion, a quality album.
First of all, YES, this CD is like Anthem in that it shys away from the horn-driven ska sound that LTJ popularized in years past. Yes, they’re still there and yes, they sound great, but they aren’t featured on as many songs or as often. So if the only reason you ever listened to Less Than Jake was to hear horns, this or Anthem will not appeal to you.
However, those who simply seek good music could do much worse than B Is For B-Sides. The songs are all well-written, and I’m sure most listeners can relate to at least some of the things the boys from Gainsville sing about. On that note, it’s worth saying that on this album, Roger sings quite a few of the songs, which provides what is in my opinion a varied sound. LTJ’s horn section, as always, is tight and sounds great, but even I would like to see them featured more on future releases.
Like all albums, though, B Is for B-Sides is not without its flaws, however small. First and foremost, it’s too damn short. It clocks in at a few minutes short of a half an hour, and for such a quality album, the ride ends too soon. Also, I know it’s been said a hundred times before, but I really wish LTJ would put more emphasis on the horns. JR and Buddy are really talented players and I think they deserve to be featured more on the albums.
To be short, if you liked the direction Anthem went in, you’ll love B Is for B-Sides. If you like LTJ only for the ska element, be wary. Those who find themselves in the middle should definatley give this one a try.
PS: Anyone who says Less Than Jake “isn’t ska” anymore should go see them live. Any such thoughts will probably be extinguished upon doing so.