††† (Crosses)

†††

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While Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and Far guitarist Shaun Lopez have always been creative kindred spirits, the longtime friends have kept themselves busy in very different ways. Where Moreno prefers to be out in front of things, diving headlong into side projects like Team Sleep and Palms, Lopez has preferred to act more as a facilitator, producing and mixing albums. With Crosses (more commonly written out as †††), the pair finally team up to explore their shared melodic sensibilities. Working with a third co-conspirator, Chuck Doom, the trio's self-titled, full-length debut is a mysterious blend of dreamy pop and atmospheric electronica, evoking the chilled-out sounds of Massive Attack and Sneaker Pimps. Though there’s certainly an element of heaviness to the album, it’s not the sort that fans of Lopez and Moreno’s art-metal endeavors might be expecting. Rather than just filling the tracks with crunching guitars and screaming vocals, Crosses add weight to their sound through depth, laying deep bass hits, electronic drums, and ambient sounds to create an almost smothering atmosphere that threatens to completely envelop the listener. Although the band has taken every opportunity to shroud the project in as much mystery as might be possible in the internet era, Crosses' pedigree comes through with every moody melody, a feat made all the more special by the fact that it accomplishes this without really sounding quite like anything its creators have done before. While this sort of departure might not be the project that Far and Deftones fans have been dreaming about since the two bands teamed up to cover "Savory" by Jawbox almost two decades ago, ††† is a solid effort that stands on its own merit rather than simply cruising on the cultural cache of its members.

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