Hilltop Views

Former singer and guitarist for Deftones releases new project

Staff Writer

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“Something’s changed in your face I notice/A different sparkle in those crazy eyes.”

That line makes a lot of sense, since it has been a roller coaster couple of years for singer and guitarist Chino Moreno and his long standing alternative metal group Deftones. Their seventh album “Koi No Yokan” made critics fangirl out, and even prompted “Revolver” magazine to declare it their album of 2012. Then, the party ended in tears after their founding bassist Chi Cheng, who had been somewhat comatose since a car accident in 2009, suddenly died of cardiac arrest in April 2013, even though he seemed to be recovering.  

So to begin this new year, Moreno retreated back into yet another side project, this one bearing the Prince inspired moniker of †††(Crosses). It began in 2011 and joins the lengthy oeuvre of his musical experiments: the shoegaze-y Team Sleep and the post-rock ambience of Palms and now again with a self titled first album.     

As his long time fans are probably aware, Moreno is a huge fan of electronic music, especially the kind practiced by groups like Depeche Mode, Air and M83, involving laid back singing over chilled out drum machines, sometimes mixed with aggressive crushes of static or ambient glissandos that caress the ear like a feather. Plus, this avenue gives him a chance to relax the screaming he has to do in his main gig and really break out his awesome voice.  

Rather than a brand new album though, †††(Crosses) is a collection of the band’s previous two EP’s, with five new songs thrown in. It may not come as much of a surprise to those who have already been following this group, but at least it saves the trouble of having to buy two separate mixtapes and hey, new material!

I was not familiar with much of Moreno’s work, save a little bit of the Deftones, so it was interesting going into this. I sort of missed the appeal of the album on my first listen. It took me a few listens to appreciate the subtlety and the interplay of Moreno’s tenor with all the raw electronic backdrops. However, this is music for which he seems really well suited. Particularly, I dug the grim tones of “B****es Brew” and the crunch and stomp of “Blk Stallion” that sounded like a remixed food processor.

Be prepared for a deep dive if you want to really experience †††(Crosses). I promise, though, it is worth all the deep breathing.

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Former singer and guitarist for Deftones releases new project