Stand by Your Van

CD Cover Sublime

Review by Dorothy Parvaz

If you're among the Sublime fans who never got to see the band play (read: you first heard of them after their self-titled CD came out and after singer Bradley James Nowell had already died of a drug overdose), this is as close as you're gonna get to hearing them play.

A CD of compiled live recordings, Stand By Your Van's sound quality of is a bit rough at times, but it sounds pretty much like the band did live: sketchy, groove-heavy and coarse all around.

No, this isn't a bunch of their greatest radio hits -- no "What I Got," no "Santeria" -- but so what? These recordings stand as a testament to the energy, genre-defying band that was Sublime. There's the sick sneer of "Date Rape," "Ebin"'s desperation and the frat-boy sleaziness of "Caress Me Down."

Nowell had an amazing ear for rhyme and a knack for writing uncompromising lyrics. You listen to his voice -- his sure-shot cadence and scats, his tough-guy growl and despondent groans -- and you try to make sense out the whole thing, of why anyone would stick a needle in their arm for a high. Damn.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 5, 1998

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