Review Summary: Crosses' EP II is less cohesive than the first, featuring two of the best things they've done plus three rather average tracks.
For those who missed this little side project, it is the collaboration of Chino Moreno of Deftones and Team Sleep, Shaun Lopez, guitarist of Far, and Scott Chuck. Their music basically consists of Chino's soothing vocals over an atmospheric landscape of basic electronics, Shaun's guitar and some occasional funky bass. In other words, goodness. Their second EP certainly had a lot to live up to following the epicness of the first, so can Crosses actually live up to the hype?
Well, yes and no. Crosses' EP II is a rather up-and-down deal. To start off with the good, it contains two of the best things either musician has done to date: Prurient and Telepathy. The former was wisely the first song anyone heard from this EP - featuring some of Chino's best vocal work, some good lyrics and a catchy melody, it's a real winner. As for the latter, it features a guest musician laying down some of the funkiest basslines ever created. Seriously, they are freaking awesome. Chuck, Lopez and Chino are also on top form, making for one hell of a song.
Now down to the bad. Well, not so much bad as incessantly average. The other three tracks on this release are all quite average, tending to drag a bit without having much going for them. None of them are actually skippable (though Frontier seems that way at first, it's a grower) but nor do they live up to either the other tracks and/or the previous EP. It's a bit of a disappointment really.
So what about the individual components of the album? Well of course, Chino's vocals are as sensual as ever, blending in with the electronics better than they ever did against Deftones' occasionally over-harsh instruments. Shaun Lopez is a very respectable guitarist; after Far broke up (again) he appears to have doubled his capacity as a musician. And as mentioned above, a guest musician comes in to lay down the funkalicious bass on Telepathy, turning it into a pure barrel of smooth, creamy goodness. None of the individual components found on EP II can be faulted; it's the songwriting which falters on this release.
So to conclude, EP II is neither an improvement nor a step backwards from EP I. If you merged the best parts of the EP's together, you'd get a consistent release which also features several standout tracks. Let's hope that Crosses' next release does this, keeping the cohesiveness of the first EP as well as reaching to the lofty heights of the second, without maintaining its unfortunate falls.