Album Reviews

Slightly Stoopid – Top Of The World

on August 14, 2012, 8:00am
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More than 17 years after first falling into the good graces of late Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell, the dub and soul-inspired ska punks in Slightly Stoopid still haven’t strayed far from their mentor’s touch.

Like their barefoot, beer-bellied Sublime buds, Slightly Stoopid wear their slacker nonchalance like a beach bum badge of honor. And while Nowell’s untimely demise right on the cusp of Sublime’s mainstream breakthrough in 1996 left the band and other Sublime/Skunk Records surrogates to carry the torch (read: cash in on the band’s success), watching Slightly Stoopid continue to hang on so many years later is equal parts comforting and unnerving. It’s comforting in that they’re one of the last living links to the original Sublime camp, but depressing in the fact that they’re seemingly all too content to live in their friends’ shadows.

Top Of The World, Slightly Stoopid’s latest offering of punch-drunk, feel-good dub and dancehall anthems, is nothing unlike what you’ve come to expect from the band, but rather a casual rehashing of what has long become the Long Beach band’s airtight formula of slow, slinking ska rhythms and chilled-out, easy living posturing. It’s a tired retread, and at a hefty 21 tracks, it’s an unfortunately laborious listen.

Boasting a healthy number of guest appearances from the likes of Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, Chali 2na, G. Love, and reggae great Barrington Levy, the band does its best to window-dress the music’s derivativeness. But while there are some proud moments, the record leaves a bland aftertaste that’s hard to rinse out. The record’s title track kicks things off with a pleasant slab of bass-heavy, dub-infused hip pop, while frontman Miles Doughty spits what could essentially pass for the record’s mission statement (“Ain’t no need for changing/ Or rearranging/ The life we have endured”).

Top Of The World lives up to its name in the moments when the band breaks from the script, as they do on the first-wave inspired “Ska Diddy” or the G. Love-assisted “Hiphoppablues”, which almost passes for a funkier version of the Allman Brothers. Those bright spots aside, the vast majority of the album’s 21 tracks find the band rubber-stamping their way through a slate of Sublime-by-numbers ska/reggae/hip hop tracks. But hey, if you can’t beat’em, join’em, right?

Essential Tracks: “Ska Diddy”

16 comments

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Guest
December 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm

What an inaccurate review. Slightly Stoopid sounds NOTHING like Sublime anymore, and to be honest, they never sounded that similar in the first place. They are in the same genre, but the bands are significantly different in a plethora of ways.

A) Musically, Bradley Nowell frequently used key modulation. Slightly Stoopid doesn’t.

B) Slightly Stoopid has more dub influence.

C) The messages in their music are different. It is too evident for me to even go into.

I could write a whole essay, but this is a waste of time. All I wanted to say is your article really offended me and I used it as an example of uneducated writing for my class at NYU.

Pete Jensen
August 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Seriously the best album from Slightly Stoopid! So many sick guest appearances with a plethora of different styles… The entire album blends into the masterpiece that is on TOP OF THE WORLD!

Nick
August 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I agree with most of the comments on here that it is time to stop comparing them to Sublime. They may have started out emulating Sublime but Stoopid has grown into an entirely different entity. Sadly though, I agree with the rest of this review. I found this album pretty dull at best. No doubt they have elevated musically, but I miss the catchy vocal hooks and drum samples. I did however, feel somewhat the same way about Chronchitis when it first came out, and I ended up loving that album. So I’m not giving up on this one just yet.

S_Templar
August 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm

You hit the nail on the head with this review. Interesting that now The Aggrolites are the band that every single new “ska” band is emulating.

Phillup Zags
September 4, 2012 at 10:22 am

idiot

mike greer
August 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm

SS is just awesome. they play reggae, punk, rap, jazz, metal. they are up there with Led Zeppelin as they are very versatile with their sound and style and are just simply super talented. They work relentlessly as it takes time to coordinate with those other artists and they tour all the time and everywhere.

Jordan
August 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm

This shit is dope don’t let some critiquing dipshit make up your mind these dudes have been touring hard for their fans forever all for the ese locos and if you’re one of them this album won’t disappoint

Shawn
August 15, 2012 at 10:58 am

A 21 track album review in two paragraphs, consisting of three sentances in the first and two in the final. The rest of the article consists of short paragraphs complaining about the band being around Sublime during their inception. The reviewer seems to still be riding on what he has learned in elementary school, not being able to move on to a different level of album reviewing skills because of this.

Music2MyEers
August 15, 2012 at 9:34 am

This review and reviewer are bogus! This is one of Slightly Stoopids best albums to date. And to say that they are in sublime’s shadow is ridiculous! These guys have their own sound and have never really strayed from it. There honestly isn’t a single track out of the 21 that I don’t like.

90028 nukka
August 15, 2012 at 3:10 am

watered down reggae shite produced by wanna-be venice beach bongo tribesmen. listened to by the lowest common denominator (lcd) “music fans” who are stuck in 1995….move on, this ish is tired, kinda like that bong u been scrappin for the past decade.

robfeller
August 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm

unbelievable! this band has so much talent and their new albums shows it so well. every song is different, i can’t relate this album to sublime at all. 21 songs that’s more than any artist would put out they took their time out to make a good albums since it’s been awhile for them… fuck outta here “It’s a tired retread, and at a hefty 21 tracks, it’s an unfortunately laborious listen.” good album go out and buy it.

WickedRedbull
August 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Ahh what would a music reviewer do without the crutch of using the obligatory stoopid-as-sublime-lite comparison to try to bolster their album review. Weak, outdated link that is not really appropriate for any remotely recent output from the band. Are you saying that a 3-piece punk/reggae band was derivative of sublime back then in the 90s – maybe, I wont argue that one too much – , and now a band with horns, keyboards, percussion, etc. that sounds completely different is still derivative? Stoopid of the 90′s sounds nothing like Stoopid nowadays – whether live or on album – so to say that theyre still living in some shadow of another band just doesn’t make sense – they arent even a “shadow” of themselves. It sounds like your mind is already made up, and they could release an all-banjo jugband album with bagpipes and windchimes next month and you’d still find a way to all it a sublime-ripoff and derivative.

Joe Mamma
August 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Yeah this was a terrible read, unless the writer is some naiive religious dbag from the middle of podunk, nowhere. These guys aren’t from Long Beach, they are from San Diego. Big difference if you live out there. And like BC was saying, they were on sublimes label when they were in high school. Their sound has always band and continues to be unique. I find it quite refreshing in todays times of bs carbon copy electronic voice over poppy junk fest that’s going on. Good on ya Stoopid, keep rocking it!

Ryan Bray
August 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I feel you guys, and I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who will love this album for the exact same reasons I don’t. For me, it’s a combination of my personally tiring of bands emulating the Sublime sound and a feeling that the music this time around just wasn’t on par with some of their past albums. SS has always shared a lot of common threads with Sublime both personally and musically, but the similarities were easier to overlook on records like Everything You Need because, at the end of the day, the songs were really good. But here they sound tired, like they’re treading water. I’ve been listening to SS for years, caught some of their very first shows they played in Boston. I’m a fan, but too much of the same thing has worn the band thin, especially when it’s all templated off of the success of another band. Like I said, I thought the album’s best moments were the ones where they stepped outside the box, and it could have benefited from diversifying its sound a bit more.

BC
August 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Yeah.. Have you ever heard them before.. this is right in line with what I would expect from them.. sounds good, they keep true to their audience and make killer tracks.. not sure what you are expecting..”live in their friends shadows”?! Sublime is Sublime.. because they were on skunk when they were in high school?? I will always love sublime. but Slightly has a sound all on its own. they are not trying to be anybody other than Slightly Stoopid. and this album is spot on. I appreciate they stay the same and stay true to the ese locos.

John Samson Phirn
August 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Did someone from SS steal your girl or something? Seem pretty hostile in this review pal. Outside of being in the same genre, SS sounds nothing like Sublime anymore. SS is a much more original act that has continued to build their sound from their first punk rock album until now. Seems like you took a review of an album and turned it into some “Oh the world will never be the same without Bradley” tirade. He’s gone, deal with it.