September 30, 2015 Sublime with Rome – Sirens (Album Review)
At long last, four years since their first album Yours Truly made its debut, Sublime with Rome has finally released their follow-up, Sirens. Given that Yours Truly was Sublime’s inaugural album since the original band’s decease in 1996, much critique weighed heavily in the air for fans and the band members alike. It took thirteen years post disbandment for first-hand members Bud Gaugh (drums) and Eric Wilson (bassist) to reform and begin creating a new Sublime masterpiece; only this time they had one trick up their sleeve – Rome Ramirez.
Simply known as Rome by many, the vocalist was twenty-one years old at the time Gaugh and Wilson began collaborating, covering past songs such as “Saw Red” and “Boss DJ” on the radio, and continuing his efforts as front man for reunion shows. It was not until almost a year after the newly found trio met, that they formed the title Sublime with Rome. Taking on a fresh face, the band began their first tour in 2010, the Sublime with Rome Tour, followed by the 311 Unity Tour (2011), and Sublime with Rome/Cypress Hill/Pepper Tour in 2012. The two latter were the tours that Sublime with Rome started introducing new material off of Yours Truly aside from the classics. This new upheaval of music left many feeling uncertain about the intentions of Rome, as well as what is to be become of Sublime’s past and future legacy.
That is, until the rocky road between 2011 and 2015 reached its pinnacle. High hopes, anticipation, and expectations were certainly relieved on July 17, 2015, the date of Sirens’ release via BMG Chrysalis. Prior to the delivery of their second full-length album, the biggest U.S. tour to date kicked off only one day before – Sublime with Rome/Rebelution’s Summer tour. With over a month’s worth of promotion and celebration of Sirens and Rebelution’s fourth upcoming album respectively, all of Sublime with Rome’s work has paid off. With all beginnings in a rope comes kinks, in terms of the band’s prior album and reputation having a good deal of those. Vocal differences, style variation, instrumental divergence, and the most recognizable of all, the change out of members.
For good intentions and personal reasons not relating to the band’s success itself, drummer Gaugh left and Josh Freese (The Vandals, Devo) hopped on. Additionally, Rome also improved his sound, tightening up his tune to close the gap between him and the time-honored Bradley Nowell. Thus in turn giving fans what they want – a taste of familiarity as well as an original and contemporary sound. Ultimately, the 88’-96’ fans hold the mashup Ska/Dub/Reggae near and dear to their hearts and ears.
Fast-forward to the listeners of the 2000s, this same nostalgic feeling is very well incorporated into songs such as “Promise Land Dubb,” “Run and Hide,” and “Skankin.” Full of fast, poppy riffs and body moving drumlines, Sirens offers the distinctive aural that the preceding Sublime 40oz. to Freedom from 1992 provided. One thing that is to be noted of both Sublime and Sublime with Rome would be the absolute perfect concoction of genres, each invoking a different mood. As mentioned before that Sirens provides the rough and raw Punk Rock facet of Sublime, Sublime with Rome also incorporated into their new album the softer, smoother, and much groovier side that the eponymous Sublime album of 1996 gave to its audience. The memorable songs “Santeria,” “Pawn Shop,” and “What I Got” are akin to Sirens’ self –titled song “Sirens” with Dirty Heads’ “Been Losing Sleep,” and single hit “Wherever You Go.”
Overall, Sirens dished out an impeccable delight of an album to all listeners, new and old, to satiate the yearning hunger that everyone involved was waiting for. Old schoolers got their fix of classic Sublime’s powerful Ska instrumentals, and the new age fan base could not be any more pleased with Rome’s edgy and effortless melodies. Sublime with Rome has only just begun, taking off with a slow roll that took time to marinate into perfection that is Sirens. CrypticRock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars.