Sugar Ray's All Over the Place

Sugar Ray - 14:59
(Lava / Atlantic)
2 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)

By Tony Bonyata

Everybody's famous for fifteen minutes according to 60's Pop-guru Andy Warhol. In direct accordance with that statement the Southern California-based band Sugar Ray have titled their third album 14:59, acknowledging the fact that their 15 minutes should be up any second now.
Following the funk-metal of their debut Lemonade & Brownies and their multi-million selling album Floored, which featured the Caribbean-spiced single "Fly", 14:59 is all over the place mixing up metal, punk, reggae and ska, all dressed up in MTV-tailored pop.
"New Direction" opens up the album with blistering speed-metal riffs over some painfully demonic groveling, indicating that they really may be heading in a new direction. But just as the smoke clears from the wreckage the radio-friendly pop of "Every Morning" skips out with sunny harmonies and a not-a-care-in-the-world vocal delivery from Mark McGrath. Rapper KRS-One waxes on the funky reggae of "Live & Direct" while "Someday" and the sappy "Ode To Lonely Hearted" evokes the silly-love-song-era of Paul McCartney. The band forges headfirst through the Clash-styled punk anthem "Aim For Me", before jumping into the snappy ska of "Burning Dog" and Devo-esque "Personal Space Invader". The most embarrassing, and out of place, moment on the album, however, is an almost verbatim cover of Steve Miller's "Abracadabra".
These sudden shift of gears between drastically different genres proves to be the downfall of the album. While many of the songs are pleasing on their own, the jumping from one style to another makes it difficult to figure out who they're trying to appeal to, or it may be that they're trying to appeal to everyone if only by a song or two instead of the entire album.
"I know were not that good", exclaimed McGrath in an interview for Alternative Press. "In two years the 14 year-old girls are gonna be 16 year-olds looking to move on to something more sophisticated. But we're going to enjoy this while it lasts"
It seems that they at least have a realistic outlook on 14:59, fully realizing their time may soon be up.

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