Everything Under the Sun

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The late-summer 2006 release of the double-disc deluxe edition of Sublime seemed to be the final word on the seminal SoCal ska-punk band, at least to the casual observer. It offered a remastered, resequenced version of the album, restoring it to the version that the band intended to release prior to the tragic death of Bradley Nowell, buttressed with alternate takes, instrumentals, and remixes -- and when it was added to their catalog, which already had collections of demos and rarities, plus live albums, it seemed like everything had been documented. Not so. There were a bunch of Sublime rarities, mostly live cuts, that hadn't been officially released, so the band's cult -- which was still considerable, a decade after Nowell's demise -- circulated an online petition asking for the release of a rarities box. And lo and behold, the triple-CD/one-DVD box Everything Under the Sun appeared that November. The hardcore asked for it, so it's no surprise that the box is designed with the hardcore in mind: songs appear numerous times, sound quality wavers, and some of this stuff, like a 14-minute interview with Westwood One, takes dedication to sit through. Although there are a few demos, a couple of unreleased cuts (a cover of Dee Dee Warwick's "Foolish Fool," plus a version of "Doin' Time" with Snoop Dogg) and several acoustic versions, this primarily consists of live recordings, including many radio sessions, culled from throughout the band's career. There a few mild revelations -- on the earliest recordings, their debt to '80s ska revival bands like the English Beat is clearer than ever, for instance -- but the primary purpose of this is as a clearing-house for rarities that have been circulating on bootleg networks (or, in the case of the DVD, music videos and live clips). And on that level, Everything Under the Sun not only does its job quite well, but it also does make a case that as a live outfit, Sublime had a muscular musicality and surprisingly fluidity that never quite translated in the studio as well as it did on the stage. Heard in passing, some of this stuff -- particularly the music on the first disc, where they're stripped down but hardly skeletal -- could convince some doubters, but there's too much music here to digest for anybody but those hardcore fans, who will certainly be pleased by Everything Under the Sun. It is, after all, just what they asked for.

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