Sublime With Rome

Yours Truly

Written by: PP on 02/08/2011 22:28:26

I honesty don't think it's possible to review the new Sublime With Rome record "Yours Truly" without spinning into a Rome vs Bradley Nowell discussion at some point, so let's get it over with straight away, alongside a quick history lesson for our younger readers. Bradley Nowell, of course, was the legendary vocalist of Sublime, who deceased due to a heroin overdose back in 1996, right before the release of their self-titled classic with a wealth of timeless songs like "Santeria", "Garden Grove", "Wrong Way", and "Pawn Shop" among others. It went on to sell over six million copies worldwide. Due to a legal dispute with Nowell's estate, the remaining members weren't allowed to continue using the name Sublime when they finally decided to re-form thirteen years later, despite the group performing all original Sublime songs with one exception. That's the history part. Now which one of the two is a better singer? It goes without saying it's Nowell, who was a master-lyricist and had a fantastically friendly and uplifting range despite his dark topic matter, but Rome doesn't sound that different from him and does his job very well throughout "Yours Truly". Perhaps you could argue that his lyrical output isn't in the same universe with Nowell, but his vocal lines are really good, if you ask me. I don't think the remaining Sublime guys would have had it any other way, to be honest.

And that brings me to my next point. This whole issue with the name is ridiculous, because "Yours Truly" - like Rome from Nowell - isn't much different from the original Sublime records. In fact, it sounds exactly how you'd imagine a Sublime reunion album to sound like: good songwriting from start to finish, but without any "Garden Grove"s or "Santeria"s that'll go on as timeless entries on any self-respecting music fan's playlist in the decade to come. The sound is still a quirky mix between ska/reggae/rock/punk and metal, where the band spends considerable time exploring aspects of each genre, sometimes even within the same song. For instance, album opener "Panic" wouldn't feel out-of-place on a typical ska-punk album given it's high-speed ska riff and bright feeling, "My World" consists of a laid back ska-beat that gradually shifts into heavier guitars with a metallic base as we remember from the sudden and slightly spastic moments of classic Sublime material, and "Lovers Rock" has a reggae vibe to it, while elsewhere elements from straight forward rock blend in as well. Make no mistake, however, "Yours Truly" is still very much a ska-album at its core, those other ideas and sounds are just embedded to throw the sound off a little from an all-too standard ska sound, one of the key reasons why Sublime always stood out from other bands during the ska/ska-punk golden days of the 90s.

The beauty of any Sublime album is its ability to combine an all-encompassing chill-out vibe with the occasional burst of high-energy action, whether in form of punk or metal. That has been successfully re-created here, although it should be again re-iterated that there are no "Santeria"s on this record. The only songs that come close to eventually making their way into classics are "Murdera", "Same Old Situation" and perhaps also "You Better Listen". They all feature the classic Sublime sound exactly as you remember it - laid-back ska without a single cloud of worry in the air, perfect for bright summer days and nights of lying on a grass field staring at the clouds. Yes, it is true that if you listen to "Sublime" right before/after listening to "Yours Truly", the quality-difference is huge, but then again, one album is considered to be one of the all-time best albums, and the other one is merely a solid ska record in 2011.


Download: Only, Murdera, Same Old Situation, You Better Listen
For the fans of: 311, The Aggrolites, Pepper,
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.07.2011
Fueled By Ramen

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