11 February 2014 (Sumerian Records)
By Sophia Abbey
Take a trip back to your middle school emo phase with the debut album from ††† (pronounced Crosses). The band was formed as a side project of Chino Moreno (best known as the lead vocalist of Deftones) and Shaun Lopez (guitarist for Far). In an interview from 2011, during the early inception of the band, Moreno had this to say about the project: “The guitarist from Far, Shaun [Lopez], he’s been a good friend of mine since we were kids. He’s my neighbor and we’ve done stuff together before. But just recently, during these little breaks that we’ve had, we’ve been recording this real minimal project where it’s just me and him and another buddy of mine, Scott Chuck, and we’re just writing these little pieces of music, whether it starts with piano or some down tempo beats. It’s really minimal and soothing and it’s sort of like the stuff I like listening to when I’m not screaming my head off.”
††† has an undoubtedly quieter, more soothing sound than Deftones, but what really distinguishes this project from the others that Moreno bounces between is the more electronic sound. Of course as this is only one of many more popular projects from Moreno, it could be that this one is left a bit neglected. In an interview guitarist Shaun Lopez talks about writing a lot of the newer music on his own and just running it but Moreno while he was on tour with Deftones. This lack of hands on style definitely shows. The album is basically a mixture of the first two EPs released by the band along with about 5 new songs. Of course the first two EPs are high quality, but the lack of new sounds on the album is hard to ignore.
“The thing is, a lot of this stuff was honestly done in a pretty close time period, which was over the span of about a year and a half. So to me it all sounds like a record, it doesn’t sound like three different time periods. In the way that it was recorded, it honestly just sounds like a complete record. The stuff that was on the two EPs, those songs got remastered so it sounds even bigger and badder now. It just sounds good and I really like it.” – Shaun Lopez of †††
The most disconcerting thing about the album is that ††† did not just decide to squish 3 EPs together, but they mixed them up. The songs are all so familiar, and as someone who was familiar with the order of the EPs, it’s unsettling to not hear a certain track order.
All of Chino Moreno’s work (Palms, †††, Deftones, Team Sleep) is somewhat similar, which could be nice but can also work against him. There are minor differences that define each group (for instance Team Sleep is very soft and moody in comparison to Deftones while ††† is more electronic) but the overarching theme of these bands is the Chino Moreno fan base. Chino Moreno fanboys are likely to love everything Chino Moreno does, regardless of quality. I’ve never been too much of a fan, and bias is certainly evident with how people receive ††† around the internet.
†his is a †rick: A man with dyed jet black hair and light eyeliner makes out with the microphone, until—oh no!— he literally trips over his Tripp Pants onto a MIDI controller. (Sounds like my favorite song in seventh grade but with an electro-dreamy beat.)
†elepa†hy: This more of a vintage dance track, way more likable than the opening track, still not a new sound though.
Bi†ches Brew: An all too familiar beat, even though it is one of the new tracks, but with a talented, breathy voice, and elements of heavier, black metal.
†hholyghst: One of the best tracks off the album, the distorted voice is unsettling, as is the low percussion and languid guitar.
†rophy: More of a modern track, softer and more refined, very similar to a lot of ambient music out today.
†he epilogue: The guitar here takes elements from the cure, mixed with a high energy chorus. The result? Just a fun track.
Fron†iers: Moreno’s vocals really shine here, even if the song is more simple.
†: This track has a very frightening sound, the lack of Moreno’s voice mixed with the horrifying percussion and horror movie creaks is a bone-chilling mixture.
Prurien†: One of my favorite tracks from day one, it has a very simple feeling, and almost sounds like a 3 Days Grace song.
Bermuda Locke†: Also one of my favorites from the EP, but I enjoy the Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross remix much better.
Dea†h bell: Begins with soft tinkling notes that sound something like Perfume Genius, with elements of chopped and screwed.
Sonically enjoyable for a first listen, but overwhelmingly disappointing for anyone who has spent time with the EPs.
Favorite Tracks: Fron†ier, †he epilogue, Prurien†, †hholyghos†
Rating: Liked it