Yours Truly By Sublime With Rome
With the use of the original band name prohibited for legal reasons, the recent reincarnation of the successful 90s musical outfit Sublime has resulted in Sublime with Rome - but the distinction is apparent in more than just the name.
The world hasn’t heard new music from the ska/reggae/punk trio from Long Beach since before lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death 15-years-ago. With the two remaining original members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh and a new front man, Rome Ramirez, Sublime with Rome gives credit to the band’s original Long Beach style. However, fans seeking a revival of the original Sublime sound on the new combo’s debut album Yours Truly may be disappointed.
When listening to Yours Truly, try to keep in mind: Sublime with Rome is a whole different animal. Chances are, however, those who revel in the days of such Sublime classics as “Wrong Way,” “What I Got” and “Santeria” will have a hard time listening to this album without making comparisons.
The vocal quality between the two presents the most obvious contrast. While Nowell’s unmistakable voice packed a figurative punch and punctuated the instrumentals with a hard-edged sharpness, Rome projects himself in a softer and more subdued manner. His sound is safer, more grown-up - if the original Sublime was the attitude-ridden, spunky, rebellious teenager, Sublime with Rome is the twenty-something on the brink of the rest of his life, playing it safe in his decision making in order to avoid complete failure.
Radio-friendly tracks like “Lovers Rock” and “PCH” could be comfortable under the pop genre blanket, emitting summertime sounds that might easily be paired with a drive down the coast or a day at the beach. The bookends of the album, “Panic” and “Can You Feel It” featuring Wiz Kalifa are more satisfying in getting back to Sublime’s punk roots instrumentally.
Lyrically, the album is another story. Long-time listeners of Sublime expect to hear about such questionable yet laughable concepts as date rape, waking up and not knowing what happened the night before and of course, smoking “two joints” in the morning, night and afternoon. With the exception of a few tracks, the stories Rome tells are much tamer in nature, contending with themes of heartache and fleeting love. One lyric from “Lovers Rock” boasts “There was summer loving in the air/Some of the best times I ever had and shared,” while another, off the track “PCH” declares “We opened up our eyes girl/To see that everything’s alright. My vocal chords are healing/From arguing with you all night.”
Though its asking a lot for those who grew up with Sublime as their life’s soundtrack to consider Sublime with Rome as it’s own unique entity, taking a step back and doing so will prove that the new incarnation does feature some appreciable qualities. The familiar ska-flavored guitar tweaks, high-spirited horn solos and reggae backbeat find cohesion with Rome’s melodious vocals. The tracks are not necessarily disagreeable, and they could appeal to a diverse audience. Nonetheless, even if the band had not taken on the responsibility of making up for the 15-year dearth of Sublime in choosing its name, thus forcing us to make a comparison, Yours Truly would still fall far short of mind-blowing.
The 23-year-old Rome has talent, but people who listen expecting Sublime-quality tunes will most likely find the new creation lackluster. However, because Sublime and Sublime with Rome are solidly two separate creatures, one can honestly state the following: Sublime has done better than this, but Sublime with Rome hasn’t.
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