Neptunes Help Sugar Ray Find Fresh Sound On New LP

Band looks to change it up on 2003 release.

UNIVERSAL CITY, California -- After the relatively disappointing sales of their last album, Sugar Ray are going back to the drawing board.

Singer Mark McGrath said on Monday the band's fifth release will likely include a few collaborations with red-hot producers the Neptunes (see [article id="1458434"]"N.E.R.D. Dropping New Single, May Go In Search Of New Label"[/article]).

"It's funny, you wait your whole life to have a sound ... and now it's like we gotta do something else," McGrath explained. "I think Madonna set the bar pretty high for changing yourself and metamorphosing and staying current. And we're in that position now. We've been in the same area for five years, so we're gonna pull the trigger and do something different this time."

Some things never change, however, as longtime producer David Kahne (Sublime) is again on board. Sugar Ray are knee-deep into recording and expect a spring or summer release for the as-yet-untitled album.

"There's been a lot of creative turmoil involved, which is great, 'cause if we don't fight and punch each other, than it's not going to be a great record," McGrath said.

Sugar Ray, along with Ashanti, Michelle Branch and Sixpence None the Richer, performed on Monday at the Neil Bogart Memorial Fund's annual Bogart Tour for a Cure, which honored Britney Spears with the Children's Choice Award for her charitable efforts.

"This industry has been so good to me and ... lending our time to something like this is an honor," McGrath said.

Sugar Ray's self-titled 2001 release featured the single "When It's Over" (see "Sugar Ray: It's Not Over...Yet"), but the album failed to register with listeners as had the group's previous releases.

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