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Sugar Ray

Floored  Hear it Now

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That's more than 2.8 million records sold among the three of 'em -- not bad for bands treated by the press as the runts of the '97 breakthrough litter. Matchbox 20 won't like the comparison, but the gray strains of their barroom pop suggest an acrid, alt-rock Hootie and the Blowfish: tightly scripted songs with meaty-guitar choruses and a lead singer/songwriter, Rob Thomas, with country-soul aspirations. But there's too much complaint in Thomas' plaintiveness, and over an entire album his angst makes for, as the song goes, a long day.

Sugar Ray are rock 'n' rap polymaths, assured pros who get it on with radio-friendly effectiveness in every modern-rock genre: Beasties-style grind ("High Anxiety"), metal for your mutha ("RPM"), California-brand dance-hall reggae ("Fly," with toaster Super Cat). "Floored" even comes with the kind of wacky '80s-New Wave cover ("Stand and Deliver," by Adam and the Ants) that makes Morning Zoo DJs turn pink with delight. The cumulative effect of this overreach, though, is that "Floored" feels like an A&R strategy come to life, with all formats and bases covered.

"Fush Yu Mang" (rude-boy Esperanto for "Fuck You Man?") is no more serious than "Floored" but more fun -- if you think there's a place in the world for a band that has both Black Flag and Madness on the brain. Smash Mouth don't beat around the bush -- "Fuck it, let's rock" -- and rarely stray far from ska-thrash basics. But they could be onto something with the bubblegum funk of "Walkin' on the Sun." If you're gon

(Posted: Dec 16, 1997) Icon Photo Add to   digg Photo DiggThis  



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