Sublime with Rome
Fueled By Ramen
Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost – Sublime with Rome’s ‘Yours Truly’ doesn’t quite meet up to the bar set in the band’s glory days in the 90’s. I personally don’t find new vocalist Rome Ramirez as appealing a vocalist as the late Bradley Nowell – not that there’s anything wrong with his voice; it certainly suits this latest incarnation of Sublime and befits the legacy – but Nowell’s had a lot more personality. Or at least that’s how it feels. On top of that, the songs sound a lot more accessible – again, not necessarily a bad thing – but Nowell lyrically was pure excellence, and the songs here simply don’t match up in stature against the band’s heyday.
That’s not to knock the album completely, for bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh still have what it takes to write catchy, groovy and potentially successful songs, on the first album to use the Sublime name in some form since the original Sublime disbanded in the wake of former vocalist/guitarist Nowell’s death in 1996. For those of you not looking to rush, the majority of the album is laden with some great chilled out jams and reggae grooves, ‘Same Old Situation’ and ‘You Better Listen’ and ‘Spun’. Rome’s voice – while not entirely as great as Nowell’s – is just as soulful and suits the direction of the album here.
There’s perhaps a little too much reggae influence though, as it threatens to cast a shadow over the rest of the record in terms of its overall presence. Fans of the original Sublime’s hardcore punk leanings may be disappointed with the lack of forays into high-energy material. Those songs in particular are welcome when they appear – the lead single and album opener ‘Panic’ is full of bounce thanks to some excellently timed saxophone, and ‘My World’ and ‘Paper Cuts’ provide a speed boost just as the album begins to lull into something of a coast. From that point on though, its back onto Easy Street, and whether the poppier stylings are your bag is another question altogether.
To continue to compare Sublime with Rome with the days of old is futile. On its own merits, ‘Yours Truly’ is actually a decent album in its own right, and although it’s not classic material by any standards, these songs will still burrow into your head speaks for the quality of the music. If you’re in need of something a little different and just in need of something a little more laidback, you could do far, far worse.