Getting to live out the fantasy of so many young musicians, 24-year old Rome Ramirez got his big break in the industry by joining up with two of the original members of Sublime to form Sublime With Rome. The band’s first album, Yours Truly, came out last year in a big way, hoping to carry on the tradition and legacy of deceased former-lead singer Bradley Nowell, and their subsequent tour found them sharing the stage with 311 on last year’s Unity Tour 2011. Upon its completion, drummer Bud Gaugh stepped away from the band for a time to be with his new baby and family, and with the status of SWR unsure for now, Rome has come out with a solo EP of his own stuff to ease the wait time between records.
Dedication is a conglomeration of multiple songwriters, producers, and influences, and sees the young Rome in a new light, rather than a sound-alike “replacement” for Nowell. The result is a much more poppy and upbeat sound, which was reigned in by Robopop (Gym Class Heroes) and Benny Blanco (Ke$ha and Maroon 5), and found Rome collaborating with Nate Ruess of fun. on the title track.
That first tune definitely sounds like it’s straight out of Ruess’s fun./Format catalog, and while I was still getting used to Rome’s vocals covering Sublime songs, I can much more easily appreciate them on this summery pop ditty. With its “whoa-oh’s” and catchy chorus, the track about loving someone who is throwing their life away and needing to step away for a time comes across upbeat and light despite its deeper subject material.
The other three tracks each stand out in their own way, but not quite as strong as “Dedication.” “Seasons” sounds like the chorus to a lot of hip hop songs out there right now, and “Oz of Love” definitely brings back a throwback image of Sublime in its title (see also 40oz. to Freedom), but “Hung Up” probably feels the most influenced by the band with its reggae vibe and upstroke beat on the verse. Either way, the whole EP is a great start to the perfect summer soundtrack, and these tunes should make their way to beach parties everywhere soon.
While it’s just a shadow of what’s coming next for Rome, his career should be an interesting one to follow in the coming years. Whether or not SWR stick together past the present tour (you can catch them all over the U.S. through August with Pepper and Cypress Hill), I think we will continue to see big things from Rome and look forward to the LP coming soon.
Try This Track: “Dedication”