Rolling Stone - 6/12/03, p.883 out of 5 stars
- "...A precision-produced guided missile seeking the hearts of socially awkward skate punks everywhere..."
Spin - 7/03, p.110
"...Their way tuneful, sorta emo seventh album often lives up to its title..." - Grade: B
CMJ - 6/2/03, p.6
"...A high energy joyride that's pleasantly fast-paced..."
Kerrang (Magazine) - p.52
"[With] the speed and fury of their live shows, and, above all, real lyrical depth. LTJ's full potential is finally realised."
Still soldiering on in 2003 after spending the prior decade being overlooked by the commercial masses during the pop-punk revolution, Less Than Jake hits the ground running with ANTHEM and its collection of songs touching on the insecurity and social woes afflicting the band's core teen audience. When this Florida quintet isn't bashing out songs about a girl on the verge of a nervous breakdown ("She's Gonna Break Soon") or lacking faith in yourself ("The Science of Selling Yourself Short") they're keeping the mood suitably bleak by singing about lacking direction in life ("The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle").
Amid all this doom-and-gloom, horn players Buddy and JR give the proceedings a peppy edge with a one-two punch that accentuates Less Than Jake's ska influences, particularly on the caffeinated "Plastic Cup Politics" and Mighty Mighty Bosstones-flavored "Look What Happened." Even though Less Than Jake take an unusually serious approach towards ANTHEM, this former Bon Jovi opening act manages to inject some levity by including a bonus cover of "Surrender" and doing Cheap Trick proud.