Borders & Boundaries (Reissued)
Given the reissue treatment (with three bonus demos) 12 years after its 2000 release, Less Than Jake’s fourth studio album captures a time when the ska-punk sextet returned to an indie label after a short-lived tenure on Capitol Records. But as the punchy leading track, “Magnetic North,” reveals, the band’s sleek production hardly sounds like the homespun mixes of other bands on Fat Wreck Chords. That’s because Borders & Boundaries was recorded on Capitol’s dime. Yet during the company’s executive reshuffling, Less Than Jake was given the choice to stay and brave a regime change or be freed from its contract with the option to take its album with them. (The band chose the latter option.) But while tracks like the melodically bursting “Kehoe” and the bass-throttled rocker “Suburban Myth” sound groomed for commercial radio, the songs still bounce and pop with the group's quirky personality. The tongue-in-cheek “Hell Looks a Lot Like L.A.” gives listeners some insight as to how the band really felt about recording and working for Hollywood entertainment moguls.