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ALBUM REVIEW

Cross Over
OFF THE CHAIN
©2009 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd
Co-Founder, MyTexasMusic.com

$12.49

Okay, I gave this disc a first listen and I learned that the band has strong convictions.  That’s good.  They have something to say and they’re not afraid to say it.  This is typically a very good idea when there is a message intended to be delivered.  Cross Over has built spiritual messages into their music and they perform with a passion that helps drive each message home.  Musically, the first track sounds like a jam session with The Grass Roots, The Doors, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Those influences are unmistakable as the band leads of with the track, “Peace.”  The second track settles into an epic ballad that ramps up to a rocker that drives home the point of “My Choice.”  Mike McKeown in the songwriter of the project and he is adept and descriptive throughout, while at times being more than direct when the mood requires such.  “When Your Love Comes” turns in a passive vocal ballad in the style of mid-sixties R&B influences.  The band’s music has biblical ties, quoting scripture on the back cover, and bringing into the message some familiar themes.  The etymology of the band name may have come from the song “Cross Over” or it may have been the other way around, nonetheless, the band’s namesake track is the longest of the project, stretching to seven minutes.  The track is by far the most artistic cut and is a power ballad with above average production value and the album’s best vocal work.  I had little trouble ‘figuring out’ what everything on the disc meant until I reached the track “Mot” which left me wondering about the motivation for the song.  I’m sure after I post this review I will receive an explanatory email, but I’ll take a stab anyway.  In the book of Job, there was a great battle between Baal and Mot, but that doesn’t seem to be the true connection.  The word ‘mot’ has roots in the Ugaritic language meaning ‘death’ and this could have some basis for the track.  The term ‘mot’ is often used to denote the ‘moment of truth’ but I didn’t see a tight connection there.  Since the song has a bit of a death theme, I’m going with the Ugaritic meaning.  The album ends up with another mid-sixties styled track called “Marley’s Ghost” which might take you down memory lane if you remember the album of the same name released in 2004 by McKeown’s former project with Hilary Kaufman-Smith.  If you dig a groovy rock sound with songs that have a truly poetic foundation and messages that are faith-based and positive in nature, have fun listening to this project.  Many Christian-based albums get into a rut with respect to genre, relying too much on sappy ballads.  Instead Cross Over lets you enjoy the music you grew up with and still get the message.

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