Side projects and supergroups aren’t quite the amazing spectacle they used to be are they? Gone are the days of the coming together of massive names (ala Cream/ELP/Crosby, Stills & Nash), in the past ten years there have been more collaborations than you can shake your fist at, from the massive stadium rocking beasts of Raconteurs and Them Crooked Vultures to the understated experimental affairs of Atoms For Peace and How To Destroy Angels. ††† (Crosses for the unknowing or confused) are a collaboration that probably fall somewhere in between the two.
In Deftones, Chino Moreno is of course used to drawing huge crowds with heavy shoegaze infused Deftones but his partners in crime Shaun Lopez of Far (no stranger to loud noise) and the relatively mysterious Chuck Doom are not characters to be taken lightly. Indeed debut album †††/Crosses is a rather monumental outing with frills turned up to 11 and intentions of understatement left firmly at the door.
The fusing of powerful dark electronic synthesizers and richly decorated guitar and vocals is as bombastic as one might imagine, yet the delicate and almost relaxing ambience of certain tracks turns it into a diverse affair. This is a sound that is probably best described as Moreno at his most free.
Opener This Is A Trick begins with understated synths that soon explodes into an atmospheric and body-moving chorus that only reinforce each musician’s penchants for massive tunes that get your blood pumping. Following tracks Telepathy, with its funky bass groove and colossal swelling choruses, and Bitches Brew, a track that climaxes with a truly danceable yet mosh-worthy melody, serve as an excellent beginning to the album.
As the album progresses however, it begins to mellow quite dramatically though by no means disappointingly. The sombre Bermuda Locket is a notable example that sees Moreno croon lightly “I wanna move you somewhere close to ecstasy”, as well as slow building and richly textured tracks Frontier and Option. Mixed with the dancier feel and jaunty rhythms of Blk Stallion and Epilogue, its clear to see a band who have enjoyed their fair share of experimentation.
Though certain in diversity, the album does fall a little short of continuous brilliance as within 55 minutes of material, it can get a bit samey making it a little easy to find yourself confused and lost before the end. However, every track individually is a winner and the wishy washy nature of certain songs is forgiven when you find yourself humming along in days to come. Indeed the trio/supergroup/whatever have crafted a fine example of why great musical minds coming together is rarely a bad thing. Experimentation, diversity and a whole knew aspect of each musician make †††/Crosses a certified success, that whilst perhaps not quite the “ecstasy” imagined, defintely comes close.