Sublime with Rome are back in action with their follow up album from their debut release Yours Truly in 2011. Perhaps some of the most grooving tracks I've heard in a long time, the album is its own brand of excellence from start to finish. Sirens is proof that Sublime With Rome have paved a way for themselves and solidified their own ground in the music scene, which can, at times, be muddled with the judgmental tone of fans expecting to hear the Sublime from the ‘90s. While much respect is to be paid and credit given to where it's due, Sublime With Rome is its own musical ensemble not to be confused with a simple attempt at reliving what once was. Sirens is packed full with talent, musicianship and fresh vibes.
Vocalist, Rome Ramirez, has branded his own class of vocal delivery with this release and much can be said about his ability to captivate the listener with his diverse range throughout this album. From songs like “Wherever You Go” to the insanely catchy Fishbone cover “Skankin’”, Rome really hones in on the reggaeton, ska-like voice begged by so many previous and new fans of Sublime With Rome. “Best of Me” and “Run and Hide” are a full turnaround when we hear a much more punk rock, hardcore sound with Rome up front with his voice. The mixture is great and, while some may argue that these songs could convolute the entire album, the execution feels just right. After hearing “Promise Land Dub”, these songs give you the needed pick-me-up pace after this easy groove reggae track.
The introduction of Josh Freese [The Vandals, Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle] as drummer, is the perfect addition to the band. A seasoned musician with an impressive repertoire of musical experience, Freese makes his mark on Sirens, rounding out an already impressive endeavour by Sublime With Rome. His drum work on this album can only be described as excellent, not only keeping a rhythmic beat, but also leading the tempos along to an enjoyable pace to listen to. “Promise Land Dub” is a fantastic representation of what Freese can do with a kit.
We cannot dismiss bassist and Sublime co-founder Eric Wilson's influence and guidance of this album as well. Wilson's bass lines carry the obvious TLC that has been a part of Sublime from the beginning until now. However, his work with Sirens is some of his best. I really felt that “Been Losing Sleep” highlighted his progressive skill. Wilson's bass lines are unmistakable and Sirens is, without any doubt, a work of art with Wilson anchoring the group.
The chemistry in the band works tremendously for this release and it is undeniable once you listen to the record. About the making of Sirens, Wilson said, "We had a great time recording the album. With Sirens, we have had time to really get to know each other on stage and in the studio, and that is hugely important to the overall direction of the band." I could not agree more. The album was written entirely in the studio, positioning each member to bring their best to the table. The result is an album full of passion, grit and fun, as the trio formed some of their best work here.
Sirens by Sublime With Rome carries the tone of instant fan favourite. Some may pose the question here: "Does Sublime With Rome measure up to the original Sublime?" Whilst I am a fan of the original incarnation of Sublime, this is not the same band. Sublime With Rome is its very own killer act. The prejudice sometimes associated with Sublime With Rome is, I feel, unwarranted. Sirens is a fantastic album that stands all on its own. I would caution that if your expectation before picking up the album is that you will hear what you loved in the ‘90s from Sublime, you may need to broaden your spectrum of acceptance and shelve the music snob within. Sublime With Rome is wasting no time in making their own mark as musicians and, in my opinion, have made a spectacular album whether you have just stumbled across Sublime With Rome or have been a fan of Sublime in the past.
This is one you can enjoy over and over again.