††† – “†††”

(Photo Credit: crossesmusic.com)

Grade: C+

Key Tracks: “Bitches Brew” “The Epilogue”

Fans of the band properly pronounced as “Crosses” might actually be rather disappointed in their full-length debut. The band, a side project featuring Chino Moreno from Deftones, Shaun Lopez from Far, and Chuck Doom, doesn’t actually have many new songs. The album, also called †††, is fifteen songs long, and it feels like it. There’s only one track under three minutes, and six over four minutes. But it includes every song from the band’s first two EP’s. They were working on a third EP, when they decided to turn it into a full album and include the other 10 songs. They reordered the songs so they show up as tracks from EP 1, EP 2, EP 3, EP 1, and so on, but it does not hide the fact that two-thirds of the album is not new material. And one of the five new songs, “The Epilogue,” isn’t exactly unfamiliar either, as the leadoff single that’s getting decent airplay.

With a needlessly overstuffed album, it might be easy to overlook the fact that it is still a pretty decent work. The band has a dark but simple electro-dream feel to it, and it’s obvious that Moreno and Lopez are enjoying a break from the intensity of their respective primary bands. Moreno only screams in one song, and a majority of them are more mid-tempo. While Deftones and Far might be in a hurry to make a loud, electric point, the songs presented here build gradually to smoother, electro-based climaxes. Some don’t build at all, staying put in a moody but accessible base.

So the album is very conflicting – it’s good, and fans of the hyper-specific genres that Crosses fall into will likely enjoy it. It’s got all the negative emotions you’d expect from a Deftones album, and never wallows in it. It has energy, but not too much. It’s just that the album is too long. It hovers around an hour, and it starts to get a little too repetitive around the halfway point. What should be a saving grace, the original and instrumental pseudo-interlude “,” doesn’t show up until track 13, where feels a little more wasted. On an album with a number of pre-established songs, it would’ve been better to only take some from each EP. Still, it’s a solid debut. And there is some promise – the album’s two best songs, “The Epilogue” and “Bitches Brew” – are two of the new ones. “†††” might not win over any fans to dream-pop or dark electronica, but fans of the genres should find the album to be a quality release.

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