A little over two years after Bradley Nowell
's tragic death, Sublime
released its second posthumous album, Stand by Your Van
never had the chance to tour the material from Sublime
, which turned out to be their most popular album. That means that all 16 tracks on Stand by Your Van
are taken from their first two albums, before Nowell
's songwriting had truly come into its own. Nevertheless, he had several good songs on 40 Oz. to Freedom
and Robbin' the Hood
, and by consolidating the best moments from those two relatively uneven albums, the live record offers something of a "greatest hits" of their early years. If the performances aren't that different from the studio versions -- they're simply a little rawer, a little faster, a little looser -- they're still strong and energetic, capturing the essence of the group's live show. Ultimately, that energy is what makes Stand by Your Van
the best posthumous Sublime
record to date. Nobody outside of hardcore fans needs this record, but the quality of the music is better than either the What I Got...
EP or the haphazard outtakes album Second Hand Smoke
, and that alone makes its release somewhat noteworthy.