Review Summary: An exceptionally mature and consistent electronic rock album.
Chino Moreno has been a very busy man the past couple of years. The amount of work Chino accomplished over this relatively short amount of time proves to be nothing short of astounding. Many people probably don't know that Chino fronts four bands and those four bands are Deftones, Team Sleep, Palms, and his latest side project Crosses. Fronting all of these bands is a tough task to take on because all of them are still alive and well. However, this is the most surprising reason that Crosses' self titled debut boasts so many exceptional and mature qualities. It's dark, expertly produced and surprisingly consistent.
However, no one should go into Crosses
expecting a Deftones album because this album sounds entirely different from any Deftones work. Crosses
embodies an electronic rock sound with elements of dark ambiance and pop. Its atmosphere works extremely well with the numerous impressive choruses that Chino delivers. Rest assured, Chino's vocals are literally perfect this time around and he really sells how he stands out above many vocalists out there. As one could imagine, his one of a kind voice serves as the major driving force on this record and it works extremely well over the many layers of electronics and synth rhythms.
The major draw of Crosses
lays in its infectiously catchy choruses. Opening track "This Is A Trick" and album highlight "Bitches Brew" both never fail to deliver in these qualities and most of the record also excels in variety and dark atmosphere. The album has a little something for everyone and some of those songs include the soothing lullaby that is "Trophy," the chilling instrumental "Cross," the poppy "The Epilogue" and the soaring "Bitches Brew." After all, this album features fifteen tracks and one would think that they would start to blend together after a while, but absolutely not. Even after a couple minor speed bumps along the way, the album somehow manages to stay consistent and fresh up until the somewhat disappointing conclusion.
While the music and lyrics aren't exactly exploding with complexity, everything stands as performed exceptionally well to compliment Chino's vocals. The electronics add a fairly dark atmosphere and each guitar riff and synth beat is meant to carry his voice until the end of the song like a journey. However, the music also serves as a minor flaw of the album. Chino is meant to be the highlight of this record, but we hear way too much of him. The instruments are given almost no time to breath over the course of the record and that's why the instrumental track "Cross" is a fantastic change of pace. It showcases what the band could do in terms of their music and next time around the music should have more time to shine. The final track also fails to deliver a satisfying conclusion and even though this song isn't bad, it never really takes off. It's driven by a simple moody piano melody and muffled vocals which never really develops into anything substantially interesting. It's soothing nonetheless, but the incredibly chilling "Cross" would have made for a more satisfying conclusion.
may not be perfect, it stands as one of the best releases this year so far. Chino's vocals carry the album and its dark, ambient and electronic atmosphere all creates a fantastic mood. It's accessible, has something for everyone, and contains a plethora of impressive choruses. The new Deftones album may have a long ways to go until it releases, but thankfully we have this pleasant surprise to fill to void. It's unclear whether or not this will turn into more than a side project, but in the mean time we should enjoy the journey while it lasts.