Mark McGrath - Vocals
Rodney Sheppard - Guitars
Murphy Karges - Bass
Stan Frazier - Drums
Craig Bullock (AKA DJ Homicide) - Turntables, Samples
Sugar Ray became widely known through their infectious (and often times overplayed) pop single "Fly", and a consequent lighter musical direction displayed by songs like "Every Morning", "Someday", and "When It's Over". Proceeding their commercial success, Sugar Ray became a pop band, taking their musical formula and using it to its full effect. However, at Sugar Ray's earliest conception (they were first known as "The Shrinky Dinks" before Milton Bradley took legal action), they were a rock/metal band at heart, with enough goofy energy to land them a deal with Atlantic and a debut record produced by DJ Lethal.
Lemonade And Brownies
showcases Sugar Ray in their most youthful and idealistic phase. The album is predominantly made up of songs that land in the rock/metal/punk region, with some turntable and sample work thrown in for good measure. These songs are interspersed with amusing distractions that run the gamut from silly funk ditties ("Hold Your Eyes") to skits and assorted tomfoolery ("Danzig Needs A Hug", a wacky drive-thru encounter). These songs generally feel like filler tracks, but they help to make the album feel less offputting and in no way serious, which makes for a better listening experience.
The real meat of the album are the rockers. "Rhyme Stealer" starts it off with some metal guitar work and predominant backing vocals. The feel is nothing you'd expect from Sugar Ray, and is really great, if at least for comic effect. "Iron Mic" continues the trend with some good vocals by McGrath, and the scratching and samples really support the song. "Mean Machine" pounds the message home, but only after "Big Black Woman" speeds things up to a punk level and raises the stakes. It's undoubtebly the best song here, with awesome, almost hardcore guitar and an excellent rhythm section.
"Ten Seconds Down" keeps things going, but "Dance Party USA" just feels lackluster. Around the last area of the album, the novelty wears off and the songs lose focus, which is probably due to the realization that a lot of this is essentially almost rap-rock as far as lyrical quality goes. However, this is probably the best Suagr Ray album, in my opinion. The truth is that it is funny (and interesting) hearing these renowned pop stars playing the type of thing you might hear at a local show. Due to that, these songs are required listening for anyone unfamiliar with this side of Sugar Ray. Trust me.
: "Rhyme Stealer", "Iron Mic", "Big Black Woman", "Ten Seconds Down"