So in August of last year, with low to slow-building (sounds like BBQ, doesn’t it?) fanfare, the music world was introduced to Crosses.  Described initially as a witch-house (throw a couple Crucifix symbols around and call it a gimmick for marketing lovers) and featuring a pretty heady mix of both 80’s nu-wave with White Pony and Saturday Night Wrist-esque Deftones atmospherics; EP1 was unleashed as a free low-grade download to would-be listeners.

Featuring the duo of Chino Moreno (of Deftones, Team Sleep, and a virtual potpourri of guest appearances on other peoples albums) and Shaun Lopez (Far) and released on the heels of some of the Deftones’ finest work to date (2010’s Diamond Eyes) , EP1 blew many listeners (myself included) away.  In the era of self-releases with little fanfare, doing so with a short burst of music as opposed to a full album was quite refreshing and left me eager for more, more, MORE.  Admittedly, Moreno is a known commodity, but I personally hated Saturday Night Wrist (save for the two singles) and don’t understand the critical praise lauded over White Pony.  I also took no real interest in Team Sleep. (If ever there was a fitting name for a band…)

I digress though.  This week saw the release of EP2 – teased by international tour dates and the apparent first single, “Prurient”.  The band also changed up their model.  They now have you on the hook for either a $3.99 128kbps download or the “Deluxe” version in a variety of higher-quality downloads along with a “Making of” Quicktime Movie, digital booklet and album art for the reasonble asking price of $6.99.  I gladly paid for both.  What I was treated to was a further progression of their already established sound.  Moreno has never sounded better in his career.  The musical landscapes he and Lopez create fit his vocal style like a well-worn glove.

First track “Frontiers” opens like something off of a Massive Attack album with a jagged guitar line and a subdued-to-driving live drum beat until it hits the chorus and one can’t help but be reminded of those bigger-than-life Deftones choruses on the very Daedalus lines “then we sail off into the sun/as the cold world freezes on.”

pru·ri·ent [proor-ee-uhnt]
adjective
1. having, inclined to have, or characterized by lascivious or lustful thoughts, desires, etc.
2. causing lasciviousness or lust.
3. having a restless desire or longing.

In every sense of the lyrics and music, the second track is all about diving in – and succumbing to desire and longing.  It’s pretty delicious.

Third track “telepathy” sounds like a cross between a Pink Floyd tune and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” sample. “You’re gold and pink inside/and it’s showing through your stare/it’s frozen us in time from inside.” The feeling of telepathy oozes through a pregnant bass line and keys that sound like horns – it’s got soul power even in the dirty electronics!

“trophy” talks of capturing a moment with what’s soon to become a former love.  The acoustic strings underneath the wistful synthesizers and a spare drum beat and a reggae-like bassline assist in what can best be described as an aural snapshot.  The song fades out in almost cinematic quality.

EP2 closes with “1987”.  “In the waves a shoebox of ashes/A silver casket/A mother dressed for eternities breath”; this is perhaps the most nondescript of the five songs here.  It comes from an almost alien-like, b-movie beginning and ends in a squalor of feedback akin to white noise before an abrupt stop. Again the question gets asked: “What’s next?”  All the while, the listener hits repeat to replay the EP again and again.

Tracklisting:
frontiers
Prurient
telepathy
trophy
1987

Grade: A-

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