Good vibes, good cause
Sublime might be one of the most influential ska/alternative bands of the ’90s. They still influence others to this day. Younger generations learn about them the second they think about buying the famous sun shirt at Urban Outfitters. Sublime is known for creating laidback ska sounds mixed with the typical reggae style, but they really reached their cult status with the release of their third and final album. The untitled album was released just months after the passing of frontman Bradley Nowell. Nowell died in May 1996 in San Francisco after a Heroin overdose, and the band ultimately broke up after. Like many musicians, Nowell struggled with Heroin addiction and was on the way to sobriety. The tragic passing brought artists like Descendents, G.Love & Special Sauce, Pepper, etc. together, 25 years later.
The House that Bradley Built is a cover album of Sublime bests songs and the album contributes to a good cause, the Nowell Family Foundation. The foundation is raising money to open up a six-bed rehab facility. According to their website, the facility “will provide treatment for people in the music industry with opioid addiction, regardless of their financial situation.”
The deluxe version of the album contains a whopping 55 songs on four discs. Now with that many songs, not every song is top-notch but still enough to make it worth the while; also, supporting a good cause should always be worth it. Sublime have a cult status in the punk and alternative scene, so being a part of their legacy is also a big honor for the bands featured on the compilation.
There are many highlights on the album, but here are some of the most noteworthy ones. The cover of Sublime’s cover of Descendents “Hope” by none other but the Descendents. Sublime covered the song on their album 40oz. to Freedom, when they adopted the style of punk legends Descendents. Now with sort of re-covering their own song, the Descendents adopted the signature style of Sublime. A peaceful ukulele replaced hard electric guitars, giving the song a more matured sound. Not only that, but the song all of a sudden has a less angry and more melancholic notion than the other versions.
Pepper, a reggae band from Hawaii, covered two songs on the album, “Work That We Do” and “Date Rape.” Both songs are well-known classics. The band manages to give their own twists and spins on the songs, making them stand out on the album. “Date Rape” now has a salsa-like sound and “Work That We Do” a more modern reggae vibe. With these songs, Pepper shows how diverse their style is and how to refresh older songs with a new, exciting sound.
“April 29th, 1992” is getting a touch-up by not only one but two bands: G. Love & Special Sauce and by Jason DeVore of Authority Zero. Both covers are very different in style and overall sound. G. Love mixed their iconic blues elements to the table, while DeVore stuck a little more to the original with his cover. Comparing both is natural. While both are solid covers, the listener will realize that G. Love’s is a little more memorable and distinct, especially because of the well-placed harmonica that gives it this great blues sound.
“Santeria” is another song that got two treatments. Once by Save Ferris and then by Trevor Young. Comparing them both, the Save Ferris cover comes out on top. The vocals by singer Monique Powell are full of character and soul, something Young’s vocals just can’t compete. While this is by no means a competition, it’s hard not to prefer one over the other. “Santeria” is one of the most famous songs by Sublime.
Sticking to strong female lead covers, Bad Cop, Bad Cop’s cover of “All You Need” is another of these stand out songs on the album. The all-female punk band makes a rather less known song by Sublime a highlight. Bad Cop, Bad Cop’s distinct style complements the original while giving it a new spirit. “Boss DJ” is covered by non-other than Jim Lindberg, aka the frontman of Pennywise. The original is rather soft and acoustic, while the cover shows strong energy that makes the song rather fun to listen to with some good friends and some good times.
The House that Bradley Built is a great way to do good. The bands on the album might not always be super famous, but it is fun to discover new bands and re-discover old classics by Sublime. It’s definitely worth going for the deluxe version of the album because it features some of these really great covers.