†††, the collaboration between Chino Moreno of Deftones (also Team Sleep, Palms), Shaun Lopez, guitarist in Far and Chuck Doom, finally release their debut album. The delayed album is a collection of tracks from the two preceding EPs (‘†’, and ‘††’) as well as some newer tracks and takes a lot of elements of the previous bands they’ve been instrumental in, but with a wide range of other influence. and the result is a melting pot of slacker-shoegazing indie, dark doomy rock and glittery pop riffs.
Here the love of new wave and dreamy shoe-gazey rock nuzzles up against electronic beats that wouldn’t be out of place amongst silky pop songs works tremendously. There’s a dark undercurrent sweeping along just beneath the surface of sultry lyrics about lust, love and mysticism that provides a solid grounding for the softly sung lyrics and the sharp, brightness of keyboard orchestration.
From the previous EPs, it feels like ‘†his is a †rick’, ‘†elepa†hy’ and ‘Purien†’ are definitely some of the strongest tracks. I have to confess, I wasn’t initially swayed by it on EP ‘††’, but I think †elepa†hy has become one of my favourites on the album. The song pops with this shimmering keyboard that has the sensibilities of an 80s pop hit, but with a darker edge to the rest of the orchestration, while Moreno seduces us with his promise to let us win if we’re willing to play his game.
‘Op†ion’ has this driving guitar part which sound like something I could imagine Depeche Mode or nine inch nails coming out with if they’d grown up in the 2000s rather than the 1980s. The bold chorus, with its brash drums and half screeched vocals sounds more like something Far or Deftones would have come out with on ‘Tin Cans’ or ‘Adrenaline’ respectively. Also, ‘Purien†’ which feels like a bright light being shone onto a moody 80s new wave rock sound. The sultry delivery of the lyrics e.g, “so go and climb in, taste it, like it…”, Is really easy to get caught up in. Moreno has the voice that could sell you on the original sin.
New track ‘Bi†ches Brew’ feels like it could have been a natural sequel to the Deftones track ‘Change’; its brooding bass heavy verse billows into an explosive chorus, and the guitar parts contrast beautifully, frenzied and higher pitched. The continued references to flames, prayer and suggestions of possession seem to heighten this, and when the vocals break into rasps it feels like a demon has been set free. Meanwhile ‘Nine†een Nine†y Four’ has that downbeat trip hop feel of older Portishead, or Gran Turismo era Cardigans. Even the guitar tone says laid back and completative.
This is really easy to get into, and while it may not appeal to those who want new Deftones music, this is well worth your attention. While it’s been treated as a side project, none of these tracks feel like they were ever an afterthought, and there’s a love of what they’ve done in place, which may well explain the reasons for taking their time. If you give them your ears, ‘†††’ will convert you.
‘††† (Crosses)’ by ††† (Crosses) is out now on Sumerian Records.
Words by Heather Robertson (@thecuriosity)