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Album Review
Crosses EP

Crosses EP
by Crosses


Review Date
12th August 2011
Reviewed by
Alistar Wickens

When the Deftones' Chino Moreno releases a side project of course it's going to create some expectations. Regardless of the genre and his collaborators, there's no disguising that voice and that leads to a couple of problems (for me at least). The first is that I always expect him to burst out into that trademark Deftones growl/scream. The second problem relates more to his choice of genre for his side projects.

With Crosses he's teamed up with Far guitarist Shaun Lopez, and Scott Chuck (and for the recording, guest appearances by Far drummer Chris Robyn and former Guns n' Roses and Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan), but this isn't a continuation of the sound of either band; it's not even close. At a pinch I'd describe it as minimalist soundscapes of ambient electronica, but that still doesn't quite get into what they're playing at here. Imagine all the soft, melodic bits from the Deftones put together, blended up, with a sparse backing track and you'll probably be getting a bit closer to their sound. And that gets back to the second problem - Chino has a good voice for the style of rock that the Deftones play, but his voice isn't quite as strong when he sings softly, although it by no means diminishes the listening experience.

This self titled EP (also referred to by the name EP) is apparently the first in a series, comprising approximately 16 songs that Chino and Shaun have been working on together for a couple of years; an opportunity, as Chino puts it, to make music "sort of like the stuff I like listening to when I'm not screaming my head off". At five songs long it's short enough to keep your attention, and this set of songs does grow on you with repeated listens - I'm definitely glad I gave it a second (and then third and fourth) spin. But had it been a full length I'm not sure I could stay with it the whole way through, which begs the question, will the next releases in this series explore this style more, or are we just going to get multiple EPs that sound the same?

Crosses is definitely a big step up from Chino's last side project, Team Sleep, which, while similar in style, didn't have the same spark as this EP. It may have been the choice of musicians that made Team Sleep fizzle instead of sizzle, but it's more likely that Chino has had an opportunity to expand on his musical ideas that started to form with Team Sleep. The difference between the last Deftones album, Diamond Eyes and Saturday Night Wrist before it, may provide some weight to this theory.

The EP is being provided free from their site (link below), so there's no excuse for not checking it out yourself - just be sure to leave your preconceptions at the door.


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