Sublime with Rome: Yours Truly

It's hard to fairly judge Sublime's first album in 15 years against the records the band put out with the late frontman Brad Nowell. New singer/guitarist Rome Ramirez, a 23-year-old who joined original members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh in 2009, ain't no Nowell; he lacks the latter's edge and sense of danger, though is a fine singer in his own right. The band, which remained active as part of the brilliant Long Beach Dub All Stars, still sounds as tight as they did in its heyday. But unlike the organic, balanced mix of dub, reggae, fast-driving ska, and SoCal punk of their best work, the debut of Sublime with Rome (the band changed its name after Nowell's estate took them to court) has one reggae song too many, and the end result, though well played, is ultimately average alternative-pop fare. By comparison, Nowell's reggae offerings never sounded like radio-friendly stoner throwaways. Despite being recorded in El Paso under the direction of the Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary — and fine moments like the "Burritos"-reminiscent "My World" — Yours Truly is a decent return but hardly a classic in the making

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