This is the album that Sugar Ray has been inching toward recording since its 1997 break-out hit, Floored.

This is the album that Sugar Ray has been inching toward recording since its 1997 break-out hit, Floored. Sugar Ray shows the quintet honing a hybrid of hip-hop, funk, arena rock, and pop—coated with an ample dose of frat-boy humor and teen-dream romance. There isn't a dud among this project's 11 tracks, each of which sounds custom-made for radio. A formidable front man, Mark McGrath has never seemed more assured than he does here. He has found a comfortable performance zone between pin-up heartthrob and forceful rock belter, which allows him to play coy on ditties like the vibrant first single, "When It's Over," and then swagger on the guitar-drenched "Disasterpiece." The trick to this (or any other Sugar Ray disc) is balancing the cute with the credible, and producers Don Gilmore and David Kahne do a fine job of keeping the band in check. All of this adds up to a collection destined to elevate Sugar Ray to the proverbial "next level" of success.—LF

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