Picks and Pans Review: Sugar Ray

updated 06/25/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/25/2001 01:00AM

Sugar Ray (Lava/Atlantic)

Pop fans have been on a Sugar high since 1997, when the So (not Lo) Cal quintet hit the heights with their No. 1 single "Fly." Two years later came the equally propulsive "Every Morning," which rubber-cemented lead singer Mark McGrath's featured spot in the teen pinup pantheon. Now come McGrath and cohorts with another box of radio candy. While it remains to be seen whether the whole pop universe will pig out on these chewy confections, the first single, "When It's Over," is a bright-side-of-breakin'-up tune that fans will find hard to resist. The opening track, "Answer the Phone," is insistent without being shrill, and "Under the Sun" is a sweet bit of '80s nostalgia that celebrates Run DMC, Culture Club and the Clash. "Disasterpiece" is good 'n' chunky rock and roll at its best. McGrath is no Pavarotti; he's not even a Backstreet Boy. But his vocals are buoyant and full of sly good humor; with 11 tracks confirming his standing as pop's latest Captain Hook, Sugar is sweet indeed.

Bottom Line: High-calorie groovin'

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