TV EPSleep It Off Records
By Bobby Gorman
Less Than Jake’s idea for this EP is genius. Take sixteen famous TV theme songs or commercials, re-record them with a unique ska-punk flare and crank the sixteen tracks out in less than twelve minutes. It’s a comical, distinctive and fascinating concept that leaves any other concept album in the dust.
Now, that’s not saying that TV/EP is a must-have, nor is it close to the band’s best material. But just like their Greased EP (which saw them cover songs from the John Travolta musical Grease), TV/EP is a worthy, entertaining and fun listen.
It starts off oddly though with the theme song from the new tween oriented show i-Carly. Not only is this the second longest track on the record (at a whopping 1:11), but it doesn’t have the same cultural impact that others too. I had never heard the song before and really you need to be familiar with the original tunes to truly appreciate what Less Than Jake is doing here; and since I’m not at all familiar with i-Carly,TV/EP starts off on the wrong foot. In a way, Laverne & Shirley fails for that same reason – it’s the longest song (1:14) and covers a theme song that I don’t know at all.
Luckily the EP picks up after the rocky start, with a Hungry Hungry Hippos commercial before it launches into an insanely energetic Animaniacs theme song that uses Less Than Jake’s horn section to great success. Other successful tunes include their take on They Might Be Giants’ Malcolm In The Middle theme song (yes, I loved that show so much I actually knew who sung the theme song) and Roger-ledThat’s 70s Show theme. The kids cartoon-combo of Scooby Doo and Spongebob Squarepants – which, oddly enough, doesn’t sound like Less Than Jake at all but still sounds awesome – works as a nice one-two punch only separated by an eleven second Kit-Kat commercial.
The commercials can be hit or miss. The Big Mac commercial, while comical, seems way out of place sonically but FreeCreditReport.com ends the EP perfectly. Plus, who hasn’t sung the Osacr Meyer song once or twice? Now we have a punk rock version to sing along to and I, for one, am stoked about that.
A must-have? Far from it. But a fun filled twelve minutes? You bet your ass.