This is an album where things linger. It is an album of smells: cannabis exhaled in a hot car, grocery store incense, wet dog, coconut sunscreen, spilled orange juice, coagulated beer, ball sweat. Things don’t dissipate on Sublime. They build, they hang around, they don’t draw much attention to themselves until, suddenly, you can’t not notice them. You can hear it in “Garden Grove,” in the way those hazy dawn-orange synths keep the singer’s soul uneasy. It’s in the patched-together layers of “What I Got,” how the lo-fi texture of the drumbeat puts a membrane between it and the pristine guitar. It’s in the dysphoria of voices that swirl through “Under My Voodoo” and — most obviously — in the nervous tone of the Long Beach PD scanner in “April 29, 1992 (Miami).”
Those moments are almost all subtext, and while Sublime was a brilliant band with a generational talent for a lead singer, it was their ability to accrue detail slowly, until something as banal as the sound of a barking dog could take on great emotional meaning, that was their greatest strength. Sublime was, strangely and unexpectedly and delightfully, subtle.