Any ‘cool’ kid in America (dour expression, beaten-up Converse sneakers) already has a cocked sneer trained on Sugar Ray‘s souffli-light, deck-strung, ska-informed, summery pop-rock. And, in the light of their previous crimes (bloke-ish sleeve design, a musical vision best described as Dog Eat Dog, but less [I]groundbreaking[/I]), maybe no-one can blame ’em…
But ’14:59′ is a hellishly difficult record to hate. Even though you [I]know [/I]they’ll soon be on [I]TFI Friday[/I] curtseying in the direction of the ginger buffoon, on record, Sugar Ray barely put a foot wrong. Not that this is especially inspired stuff, but, if you wanted a soundtrack for the kind of sun-kissed pool-party the sleeve depicts, ’14:59′ is maybe as good as you could get today.
There’s recent hit single ‘Every Morning’, f’rinstance, displaying a preternatural lightness of touch which balances the irritatingly catchy hook. And, somehow, they manage to pull off a cover of the Steve Miller Band‘s sublime AOR nugget ‘Abracadabra’ without being swamped by, or disgracing, the source material.
So, listen and dislike, at yer leisure. But if you let anything like simple snobbery and indie-bigotry inform your opinion on ’14:59′, it’s your loss, not Sugar Ray‘s.