26 September 2023

The Other Side

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By M.C. Roads, Golden Robot Records 2023.

The Other Side is the first I’ve heard of M.C. Roads but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

M.C. Roads is Mike Cross and friends and he’s been around the music scene in his native Detroit since the 1990s.

He’s best known as the founding guitarist of the rock band Sponge who were big in the alternative rock scene throughout the ‘90s.

Sponge put out three iconic albums, Rotting Pinata, Wax Ecstatic, and New Pop Sunday, which catapulted them to rockstar status, and they toured extensively as support acts to mega bands such as KISS, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden.

After leaving Sponge Cross continued to write songs and worked on developing his vocal skills, ultimately resulting in him forming, and becoming front man, for M.C. Roads.

The Other Side is a four track EP that is uniformly good. It’s classic guitar-based rock that is melodic and retro in its sound.

This old school sound is partly a result of the writing, combined with the band configuration, and particularly the recording process.

Mike records his songs on 2” master tapes in the same way he produced Sponge’s music.

Nothing really replaces the warmth of analogue recording of largely live performances.

M.C. Roads has put out numerous records through Golden Robot Records and they have received considerable critical accolades.

The review from Rock At Night magazine sums M.C. Roads perfectly:

The dual guitar attack and harmonies from Cross and his bandmates occasionally recall touchstones of a classic era like Clapton. But make no mistake: on full display here is the searing imprint of musical high drama unique to Cross that distinguishes Sponge’s most memorable work.

M.C. Roads have been praised for their originality and Detroit grit and their 2021 No Nostalgia album was named as one of the best albums of that year by I’m Music Magazine.

This four track EP has certainly whetted my appetite so I will be exploring more of their musical offerings.

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