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Crosses (†††) – †††

2014 Sumerian Records
Crosses (†††) - Crosses (†††)

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.

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    ( 66 votes, 4.64 stars )
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Comments

  • Surly

    Yeah, I know what you mean about the revised track ordering, but hey….Maybe it will bug me the more I listen to it. Regardless, I love what these guys are doing. It’s a lot more cohesive and listenable than Team Sleep….given that they share a similar’ feel’ to their music styles. Well, I’m more compelled to repeat listen to †††’s than that record.

    • Fred Fred Burger (Darkdevout)

      To be honest, Team Sleep was my favorite Chino project including Deftones’ entire discography except maybe Diamond Eyes.

      • Fred Fred Burger (Darkdevout)

        >looks at dislikes
        >cries

      • Porpoise Orifice

        Don’t cry, you just have to learn no one is entitled to their own opinion around here… except mine.

        btw it’s hard for me to say whether I like one over the other, but I definitely find Team Sleep more interesting than the deftones, and lastly, I’ve had a lot more sexual relations to that CD.

      • spliff

        How dare you guys strike the Deftones down!

    • wearesorta138

      The demos for Team Sleep that leaked all those years ago were wonderful. That rough edge stuff really worked for damn near all of those songs. Lot of that vibe got lost on the final version.

      • BooThisMan

        Completely agree, I kept those demos on the comp and just listen to them in place of the final version. Those leaked demos came at such a perfect time in my life; 19 year old suburban kid and living like it and that was my soundtrack lol

      • Lifeseclipse

        Anyone remember when their live set from the cactus club was uploaded on p2p’s?

      • BloodyBoneKummer

        I probably downloaded that Cactus Club set off Kazaa then lost it when I had to wipe my computer clean from all the malware Kazaa also installed.

      • floodlit

        I was actually at that Cactus Club show. Not only for Team Sleep but also for Deftones in 1994. Yep… I’m that old.

  • BooThisMan

    Shit is tight

  • chase2034

    so this album gets the same rating as Hoobastank’s self titled…sweet.

    • adamonfire

      That thing is nearly 13 years old, and I agree, pretty sweet.

  • MyDarkPassenger

    I kind of like that they mixed up the track listing. It kind of makes you look at the work in a whole new way, even if it is familiar. It’s a micrometer of extra value, in that sense.

  • Stereotypical Evil Archer

    I like to listen to LPs and EPs in full. I never randomize tracks. I never pick one song. if I make a playlist, it goes by a full LP or EP. It’s just how I appreciate the art. I am disappointed that they mixed the tracklisting. It looks like I will have to edit the track-listing to match my expectations. It’s simple to make the changes as long as the tracks don’t tail into the next. Then I’ll burn it for my random devices that need an actual CD.

    Vinyl? Not a chance with the intermixed track-listing.

    • scorpions

      I mean, I’ve heard you say some dumb shit before…

      • Stereotypical Evil Archer

        True that.

    • SpinSwimScream

      What you said here isn’t ‘dumb’ at all. A good artist/group that writes an album, not just a bunch of tracks to fill an album, tends to have the tracks in specific order for a reason. When I listen to an album, it is front to back. Playlists are convenient at times, I guess. Sometimes I’ll make one when I do yard work, work out or go on a run. Generally, when I’m really taking in music, it is an entire album, and it is in the order I bought it in. Mix CD’s were cool for me, when I was a teenager with a fraction of the attention span and musical knowledge I have today.

      One could look at this from another angle… Maybe Crosses changed the order of the tracks to better fit what they feel sounds better to them now. Either way, I feel it’s a bit cheap for artists to release a ‘new album,’ when only a third of it is new. Don’t get me wrong, though some retards undoubtedly will, I like this band and this album. However, when considering the ratings of some of the other albums here, this isn’t worthy of four stars.

      • Stereotypical Evil Archer

        At best this is really just a release of EP 3. The rest is a double dip.

        So I will totally buy EP 3; I already have the other EPs plus The Years and I listen to them frequently.

      • Bleedsfromthesky

        It’s not a double dip for those of us who didn’t have EP 1 OR 2.

      • RUREADY2JIGGLE?

        Those of you who didn’t have the first two EPs are pathetic and ignorant and should be treated as such.

      • Tom

        its not really a double dip as the first two EPs at base were FREE. would you have really expected their first major proper wide release be just be an EP? and for a label to put money and effort into that? doesnt make sense at all. especially considering there was no physical release (aside from the limited vinyl) of the first two EPs. im glad they went this route, though its pretty lame not to just put the years on there as well.

        as for people who actually spent the money on the vinyl releases, i do hope for your sake that the new batch of songs are released on another 10″ for the sake of consistency. now if they label went and just released this whole album as a 2xLP or something, THEN there would be grounds to cry double dip.

        also for the record, chino mentioned it in interviews as a 3rd EP, and it was sumerian who was saying “new full length album”. i reckon the band was intending to just release another EP, then got involved with the label, who rightfully so, wanted to release a full album.

      • SpinSwimScream

        I wouldn’t expect their first release on a label to be an EP. However, it wouldn’t be outrageous to expect them to take a little more time and put a little more work into it, to put together a new full-length album. You just said the first EP’s were free. Now, they’re trying to sell that very same material, with only an EP’s amount of new material. That’s bogus, man.

      • Tom

        they have spent plenty of time crafting all these songs, difference is they have released them as they went along. i actually like this because im not faced with an hour of brand new music to digest. instead 2/3rds of it i know and love already, thus devoting time to listening to this in full is a lot more enjoyable, personally.

        the point about it being free is that people didnt have to pay if they didnt want to. and if they wanted lossless quality or a limited physical release, they could pay. so i see nothing bogus, lame, or scammy about releasing them proper now, so your average joe can walk into a record store and get them, or people like myself who like to have things on CD.

        and ive see people say “hey i paid for the lossless, so yeah, this is a rip off to me”, which i just say hey, if you actually pay for digital music, then a physical format like this is probably not a high priority or necessity to you, so there is nothing stopping you from just buying the new songs on their own and not rebuying the others.

      • Tom

        actually now i do see this is already available on vinyl (56 minutes crammed on a single LP, bet it sounds awesome!). whatever, vinyl collectors deserve to get taken advantage of! doesnt really change the scarcity and value of those original EPs though.

      • SpinSwimScream

        I too buy physical copies. Also, you really wouldn’t like to digest an entirely new album? I like music too much to push away a new album that interests me. That’s just a difference of personal preference. I’d enjoy a whole album of new music; you wouldn’t, and that fine. I’m not even a huge fan of this band, but I was still interested enough to want a more solid effort. Someone mentioned above that Sumerian Records were the only source advertising it as a new album. That may be the case, and maybe Crosses were given a date to have the album finished by. Tons of bands are rushed in and out of the studio to meet a date. One of the many potential problems with being on a label. Regardless, I won’t be buying this album. Maybe they’ll pull me in next time around, maybe not. Not a big deal.

      • Tom

        im not saying i wouldnt enjoy or want to digest a whole new album, nor is it a matter of pushing away an album of interest. its just with music these days, there is just so much of it, all competing for that interest and attention. even worse now with streaming becoming more prominent, practically the entire history of music is just a click away. as much as i love music, bands, the album as an artform, it still sometimes can be challenging sitting down and devoting 45-60 minutes to a single album. i wish i could say that was just for new bands, but it can even happen to beloved ones.

        so basically what i was trying to say, is with the path they took to get to this full length, theres the advantage that we were dealt the songs in small chunks, and had the chance to give more time and focus on each and every song. so now with the new track list, instead of having to delve into an hour of the unknown, you get hit with a couple songs you know and love and can get excited by, then a new song to explore, repeat.

      • SpinSwimScream

        I’ll admit, I see your point, but I’ve just never had or felt like I had a problem with the time it takes for taking in a lot of albums in their entirety. I understand your point, but I have always made the time for music. Listening to music and constantly learning is just as important to me as playing my instrument. It’s cool you looked at it in a way to enjoy the songs you already love with a few new ones mixed in. I didn’t hate this album, I just didn’t feel the need to go back to the first two EP’s anymore. They sparked an interest for me to hear what was next, and I like the new tracks, but they’re not significantly important to me amongst anything else I’ve enjoyed recently. I feel like I was mostly attracted to the names of those involved. You’re right, there is a ton of new music (and old) that is only a click away, which can make it tough to tolerate things past a couple or maybe even one listen. I completely feel that part of what you said. I’ve found myself being more strict on music and whether I give it more than the initial listen or two anymore. It’s a blessing to have so much at our finger tips, yet a curse in how overwhelming it can be in sorting through the trash. There are even so many artists trying to do the same things in all genres alike, which makes it that much harder for some of the good talent to be found or noticed at all. It sucks, man. It’s like music is being raped.

      • Tom

        granted, i have a pretty severe uncontrolable music obsession. practically have to hear every album by every even remotely notable band in the genres i follow, and many even in ones i dont particularly care for all that much. overwhelming is exactly what it is.

      • Stereotypical Evil Archer

        The free versions of the EPs were not lossless quality. If previously purchased, 2/3rds of this is clearly a double dip. Despite being ravenous listeners of music, many of us accomplish this on a limited budget. Thus said dip part deux is disingenuous.

      • Tom

        another completely pointless post. did you not read anything you are replying to?

      • Stereotypical Evil Archer

        Tom backwards is mot.

      • frog

        Except this running order really does feel like a record. Go give it a listen before judging.

  • Bleedsfromthesky

    Good album. I def like it better then Team Sleep.

  • BobArmpit

    What a crappy review. One major point you failed to acknowledge is the fact that all of the old songs have been remastered. They do sound better than before. Fuller and deeper.

    • Lifeseclipse

      That does it Wook! I’m afraid we’re gonna have to let you go.

    • Stereotypical Evil Archer

      Armpit, is that true? Do you have a link or a source for that information? I have the fist two EPs in high quality, including the stem files. I’m curious to what other changes were made.

    • Tom

      give him a break, not everyone has the ear to really distinguish mastering differences, nor does the average reader have the ear nor care. it is a MUSIC review on a MUSIC site afterall, not a audiophile site.

      besides, i reckon the remastering is not because the original mastering of the 2 eps was poor, but just to make the 3 seperate batches consistent with each other.

      • SpinSwimScream

        Great point here, Tom. Going back and forth between mastering differences would stick out like a sore thumb. They had to keep them consistent.

      • Stereotypical Evil Archer

        Armpit mentioned there were aural differences, so he can definitely distinguish between masterings; as suggested by his post.

      • Tom

        “not everyone” “average reader”
        AS SUGGESTED BY MY POST

    • wookubus

      While listening I did notice mild differences in the older material. The key thing that hit me was the garbled electronic part in “This Is A Trick” sounded louder. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say they sound radically different–at least from the copy they gave me.

      As Tom suggested, it sounded more like just bringing it all in line so all the material had the same levels per se. It could easily be argued that it is more of a normalization than a full-fledged remaster.

      That said, there were no supporting press materials with the promo copy that confirmed any remastering took place and I was unable to verify it outside of that so I didn’t mention it (googling this bands name is rough trade.)

      On top of that, the press copy provided was encoded at 160kbps (sadly this still happens) so it wasn’t the greatest source material to chase down any audiophile presumptions to begin with.

      As a result I based the review on what I felt mattered most, the music (and apparently my OCD.)

      Basically I didn’t have all the facts so I didn’t jump to any conclusions. Sometimes you have work around things and that’s what I did here.

      But hey, opinions!

      • Surly

        160kbps! Well done Summerian. What is stopping these copies being provided as 320kbps files?

      • Stereotypical Evil Archer

        Thanks, Wook! Much appreciated!

  • Dixon Cider

    i agree they have been remastered, but not for the better! WHERE IS THE BOOMING BASS!?…..listen to this is a trick ep version then the album version….album version sucks!

    • Stereotypical Evil Archer

      This is the kind of info I was requesting. Time for Tom to chip in.

  • SSHL

    this band oh man damn it makes me wanna look at titties ya know?!

  • frog

    I actually feel that the tracklist flows incredibly well and works better than either EP, making the songs individually feel stronger. There is nothing to complain about regarding the order.

    • Lifeseclipse

      There was something late in the album that felt out of place to me. When I get a chance to do a full listen end to end, I’ll post up. Right now, I’m getting myself some sleep. Work sux.

    • Lifeseclipse

      Option. That song feels out of place. Put it between this is a trick, and telepathy and tell me that doesn’t flow better.

      • Lifeseclipse

        Also, switch prurient and trophy.

  • ocillotist

    Team Sleep practices with group power naps… “ever” the hard workers.

  • dmoe

    Not sure why people are so hung up about the track re-listing here. You get over it quickly after a couple of full listens. Either way, this is a great album even if you’ve heard some of these tracks from the EP’s. The new tracks are great.

    • bloodmoney80

      I really like this album. The track order doesn’t really bother me. The album does feel a bit long though. There are ten solid songs here, It could have been cut down a little bit.

  • ocillotist

    Saw TS at Henry Fonda a few years back and dude lost his guitar signal during the neat wandering line in Ataraxia… should have started over song.

  • ocillotist

    whats a Deaf Tone? you crazy kids! I can’t keep up with your Doe ray me’s and your haa cha chas… 23 Skidoo!

  • Daniels0719

    I love the rearrangement. I love their sound. Crosses is a lot better than Team Sleep. Team sleep was horrible with the expedition of. 4 songs. How are u not going to put Patton on the LP. In fact Natalie Portman is their best song and that was left out. Smh.

    • dagger666

      I really dig Team Sleep, a different beast to his band for sure. Def agree Natalie Portman and Kool Aid Party (w/- patton) should’ve been on the album. Both are killer tracks.

      • dagger666

        *this

  • asull24

    on the next album they will call themselves “Jesus piece’s” you know, to try and reach towards a bigger market

  • dagger666

    Can not stop spinning this album. I thought I might have had an issue with the revised track order, but it hasn’t bothered me at all. Was lucky enough to catch them at Soundwave last month – awesome live. The sound was huge.

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