Perhaps it was intentional that the abundance of ASCII characters and low key hype surrounding the release of Crosses‘ (aka †††) debut EP would raise the dander of witch house loving hipsters. Musically though, the outfit are a much different read than their proverbial cover would suggest.
Originally dubbed The Holy Ghost, Crosses are of course the long-gestating side project of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, Far guitarist Shaun Lopez and Chuck Doom. To be clear, witch house Crosses are not. Their music is delivered with far more enriched production values; eschewing the micro-genre’s minimalistic trancey bombast for sultry euphoria ala Portishead and the like.
Interestingly though, as sexualized and electronically edgy as the material may seem in spirit, much of it doesn’t exactly come off as a stretch for Moreno. His work on songs like “Cherry Waves“, not too mention his time spent with Team Sleep, readily serve as eminent precursors for his vocal contributions to this project.
Seemingly forever entangled in waves of dreamy synth and conversely crisp sampling, Crosses are quite the dynamic proposition. So much so that an interesting sense of friction often arises as the two differing elements meld into a layered, albeit at times, droning backdrop.
The resulting aural environment is perfectly suited for Moreno‘s smoldering croons and occasional restraint laden outburst. This yin and yang musical compatibility is wholly matched by the synergy between Moreno and Lopez production wise, making for an enveloping auditory journey overall.
On the other hand, while Chuck Doom‘s contributions to the project aren’t directly specified, the group did enlist the services of some other friends along the way as well. Most notable of which is Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), who plays ‘additional’, though admittedly indistinguishable, bass on “†his is a †rick“; and Far drummer Chris Robyn, who handles some of the live percussion.
To say that most Deftones fans will thoroughly enjoy what Crosses have to offer is an understatement. The formers continual dalliances with electronic melancholy throughout the years have made Crosses a painless transition for those not overly thirsty for distorted aggression.
But Deftones fandom aside, there is a rich and engaging listening experience at play here that is worthy of merit on its own; making Crosses a welcome addition to the musical offspring of some of Sacramento, CA’s favorite sons.
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