By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun
3:20 PM EST, January 20, 2011
Not that you'd know by listening to them, but Less than Jake are now practically veterans. The Florida ska-punk band has been around for 16 years.
But rather than replay their classics, the band's having fun. Its newest EP is an anthology of TV and cartoon show theme song covers. When the band performs at Sonar on Thursday, members won't just be acting animated; they'll tear through the already zippy theme song of, what else, "Animaniacs."
Fellow Floridians Supervillains and punks Off With Their Heads will also perform that night.
"TV/EP" is a breezy novelty album. It includes covers of the "Malcolm in the Middle" theme song and the one from "Diff'rent Strokes. Peter "JR" Wasilewski hoarsely sings "SpongeBob Squarepants" as if he'd spent the night before on a bender.
It follows the band's tradition of reinterpreting pop culture staples. In 1996, they redid the "Grease" soundtrack, and two years ago, they covered the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You" in "Goodbye Blue & White."
The EP seems like an excuse to tour — it's doubtful fans will come specifically to hear a noisy rendition of the "Laverne & Shirley" theme song.
Since forming its own label three years ago, the band has been throwing not just new material at fans but reminders of its past. It has re-released albums "Pezcore" and "Goodbye," among others — and in March, will re-release "Losing Streak" and "Hello Rockview."
At this point, nearly two decades after forming in Gainesville, Less than Jake has enough material to last a whole Warped Tour.
So the covers album (just 11 minutes long; the shortest song, a cover of the Kit Kat jingle, is 11 seconds) is a sign that the group is now free to play not just with other people's standards but with its own as well.
Less than Jake performs Thursday at Sonar, 407 E. Saratoga St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, at $16.50, are sold at the door or at sonarbaltimore.com.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun