Sublime is a band that needs no introduction. Well, these days they might considering there is only one original member left. Eric Wilson seems to be the only original member of the band that can hang on. After this latest album they might have to give it up for good. They are starting to go the way of the Grateful Dead. They lost their front man and tried to hang on to the name despite a lawsuit from the Nowell estate. They picked up a kid along the way named Rome, who grew up listening to Sublime. Which doesn’t sit well with a lot of us old folk who went through High School jamming Sublime and later Long Beach Dub All-stars at our parties. Since their 2011 release Yours Truly, they have lost another founding member, Bud Gaugh. Gaugh is being replaced on this album by Josh Freese who has played with everyone from The Vandals to Devo. He’s a great replacement, but what do we really have left here? They were sued out of calling the band Sublime and had to go with Sublime with Rome, but now it doesn’t even look like we have that anymore.
There is no doubt that everyone in the lineup knows how to make excellent music but Sirens sounds tired. It doesn’t have the same energy that Sublime of old brought to the party scene. Wilson and Freese sound like they are bored with the whole scene and they might be. It only takes a few Google searches to see that fans are not happy about what has become of their beloved band. Sublime built a huge cult following that beat even death. A majority of the people who have fallen for Sublime never even heard their music until after the death of Bradley, which says a lot about the strength of performance that man brought up to the mic with him. Sure Nowell was a mess at times, a veritable cornucopia of chemical influence, but he still brought his best until the very end. By comparison, Sublime with Rome comes across as a bit too clean, especially Rome. He has no punk edge. He has punk but he seems not to be able to bring it to that level of Sid and Nancy… just Nancy.
It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what is wrong with Sirens. The instruments are played well, the lyrics aren’t all that bad compared to most of the dismal shit that gets released these days, so what is it? I truly believe that the name of the band is what’s hurting them. Many believe that Rome is just using Brad’s legacy as a vehicle to get himself some time in the lime light. That’s entirely possible but he probably wouldn’t need to. His track with Dirty Heads (“Lay Me Down”) was amazing. A truly great song. So how does that same man make a song like “Been Losing Sleep” which sounds like Ace of Base’s “The Sign?” I literally played them both at the same time just to see. It almost sounds sampled. If you want to listen to Ace of Base it will be great, but if you are wanting to listen to Sublime you are going to come up short on this album.
The band also didn’t really seem to put too much effort into Sirens, with it clocking in at a paltry 33 minutes long over 11 songs total. In a recent interview, Rome stated that he normally has songs ready and an idea of where he wants the album to go but in this case he had nothing. Wilson said that they did the album because it was time to do an album. Seriously guys I’ve been a fan for a very long time but if it’s going to be that way just cash it in. Cash it in now before it just starts to get sad. Don’t make it limp into another era of shit.