Sugar Ray – Lemonade and Brownies – Review

Sugar Ray

Lemonade and Brownies (Atlantic)
by Scott Hefflon

With one of the sexiest covers to come through this office in some time (featuring an all-grown-up Nicole Eggert from Charles in Charge), I was hoping Lemonade and Brownies (Atlantic) would be as finger lickin’ musically as it was visually. This is a cover one might admire for long periods of time one-handed.

The release starts out with a minute long hip-hop sax ditty in which the lyrics consist entirely of: “Hey, get up/Have some fun tonight.” From there the Sugar Ray posse launches into a guitar-heavy drive similar to earlier Beastie Boys. I’d compare the sound to Pop Will Eat Itself, but these guys are a lot more fun. Young, loud and balls-out, these guys use every production technique known to man to make a huge sound: Looping samples, strolling fat man bass, mountains of metal guitars, and track upon track of screaming vocal with the hip-hop beats weaving the conglomerate together. Cut to suave, less-is-more R&B. Searching falsetto, hand-clapping and “chica-chica” breathy choruses – very urban. Ah yes, back to plodding monster rock, littered with every hook in the book. This screams alterna-radio fave with every pore of its mock-serious being. Unfortuately, there are no lyric sheets (I’d trade ’em, for the lusty cover any day) so you’re left to your own devices. Practically every song has party-song/driving-song potential, so choosing the faves is tough. For sheer title, “Danzig Needs A Hug” is an obvious pick, and “Drive By” (the joys of the drive thru) is a close second. Fun, heavy, innovative (though a little slicker and radio-oriented) – it seems the Beasties and perhaps Revolting Cocks have a young contender. This is great.