Review Summary: Sublime w/o Brad.
It’s not that a band has never replaced its lead singer with hopes to continue touring and releasing music. We’ve seen it done before and it’ll continue to happen until the end of time. The situation with Sublime however is a bit different, I’m afraid. When Bradley Nowell died in 1996, the remaining two members vowed not to continue under that name in respects to their fallen band mate. However time has passed and a new age arises where promises have dissolved apparently. I’m not making the accusation that Sublime with Rome is the same as Sublime, but you have to admit it’s not a very clever name change. The two remaining members of Sublime, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, thought it would be a swell idea to recruit a new lead singer, add with and his name at the end of Sublime, and start off on their own venture. But as we can see from their first full length as a “separate” band, all it does is drag Sublime’s legacy through the mud.
There are two ways to look at Sublime with Rome; one as an entirely separate band and the other as if Wilson and Gaugh replaced Brad with Rome Ramirez. Looking at it from both perspectives Rome is nothing to brag about. His voice is whiny and almost grating at times, with almost no reggae influence to be found. Yours Truly
itself is more of a punk album with ska influence if anything. It doesn’t have that dub/reggae edge that Nowell brought to the table and without that influence there isn’t much variation to be had. At times Wilson does a good job bringing forth the ska influence, but it just isn’t as prominent as in his previous work. More of the songs found here are chord heavy; often times overpowering the drums so they almost cannot be heard.
Aside from the large number of songs that Sublime fans will scoff at, there are a few enjoyable ones. “Lovers Rock” the albums second single, is the most reggae influenced song and the only with any replay value. In the first half of the album there are a handful of songs in the two minute range, all which are pretty energetic and heavy by their standards. “My World”, which is one of the better ska songs on the album, switches the style from ska to hard rock, leaving nothing but confusion. The second half of the album is mirror opposite to the first. Songs only vary by a matter of 10-20 seconds and they all sound the same after playing for a minute. The album closer is the only other song than the previously mentioned ones to have any dub/reggae influence and that is courtesy of Wiz Khalifa. While his appearance isn’t unexpected, it’s actually a nice break from his normal horrendous yapping about rolling papers.
There’s no doubt that this album is going to have mixed reviews. On one side you have the hardcore fans that feel Sublime died in its entirety with Brad and you’ll find the ones that adamantly say it’s a separate entity. The fact remains that Wilson and Gaugh tried to use the Sublime name until they were stopped by a judge and therefore had to come up with this crazy creation. Rome Ramirez is no Bradley Knowell, he knows that and he’s not trying to take his place. However an album like this should’ve been concocted under a different moniker in order to stave off comparisons. In any case Yours Truly
is a poorly constructed album, one with little variation and it simply just misses everything it had intended to do.