Crosses (†††) †††2014 Sumerian Records
Listening to Crosses‘ (†††) self-titled debut album can be a maddening exercise in personal tolerance and retraining your brain. Not in the sense that the material is poor though. No, the dreamy electro pop tinged odes to new wave warmth that Chino Moreno (Deftones, etc.), Shaun Lopez (Far, etc.) and Chuck Doom create remain as captivating as ever.
The irksome trait here instead stems from this album’s origins. It began life as what would have been their third EP, and to that extent, there are five new songs included upon this affair. With a label (Sumerian Records) now behind them and the availability of the past EP’s limited; it’s understandable that the band wanted to combine all three of these offerings into one crowning statement.
Yet the rub doesn’t come from the choice to include the previously released material per se. Instead it springs from the decision to mix the track listings of all three EP’s together. If you’re already familiar with the bands past output then you’ve likely an inkling as to what song comes next. There’s an unspoken covenant between a listener and an album/EP. A static expectation established through multiple listens that can be utterly betrayed by this randomized nature.
The chaos of songs from the bands past EP’s intermingling aside, there’s little to complain about. When it comes to the new material there’s the bubbling pep of “The Epilogue“, which combines a persistent droning and guitar that sounds like it was lifted out of The Cure‘s heyday. “Nineteen Ninety Four” presents a loose assembly of jangling guitar chords, stiff drums and a haunting understatement courtesy of a particularly wistful slide guitar—or at least what sounds like slide guitar.
“Blk Stallion” is possibly the most entertaining of the bunch, with its uplifting chorus hitting a distinctly nostalgic stride amidst rigid electronic drums and fuzzy guitars/ambiance. Moreno‘s yearning croons of course top the whole mixture with hazy melodies and remarkable sentiment.
While a touch more despondent and indicative of their influences; all five of the new songs are a welcome addition to the bands repertoire and fit well when presented side by side. Sure the presentation here may be questionable, but there’s no denying the charm and allure of the end product.