After two EPs and a ton of anticipation from fans of Chino Moreno — lead singer of the immensely popular nu-metal band, Deftones — Crosses’ dark and atmospheric full-length album is a hit. Combining electronic, 80s new wave and rock influences, “Crosses” is the perfect choice to blast while driving down the freeway at midnight, or while in an introspective stoop and ready to think outside the box.
Simultaneously intense and relaxing, “Crosses” mixes fast balladic songs with soft, moody beats. The tone of the album is dark, and even the band’s logo (three crosses next to one another) suggests their interest in the macabre. Moreno’s lyrics do not disappoint, singing on a wide range of topics like sex, cults, love and heartbreak through references to death and religious icons. The best example of this is in the song “Thholyghst” (a shortened version of the religious entity, the Holy Ghost). While its lyrics are romantic — he sings, “We’ll drink from the waves and feel our souls / Fall asleep on the graves and seal our souls” — the song still uses elements of horror, such as the sound of a woman screaming that can be heard throughout the track. The romantic lyrics contrast with the dark melody and raise questions about the song, as if Moreno is being tortured by his love.
Musically, the album is heavy in synthesizers, precise drum beats and guitars — perfectly fitting into Moreno’s intense and melodic vocals. Tension is a key for the album’s success; songs like “Nineteen Eighty Seven” thrive on build-up, as the electronic resonation in the background creates a feeling of suspense. Other songs are hushed, and there is strength in their silence. Still, with all its suspense and horror themes, the album still manages to be uplifting in other tracks like “The Epilogue,” where the heavy synths and drum beats give it qualities of a hip-hop song.
“Crosses” is an outstanding album that only grows in texture, as some sounds or instruments can go unnoticed until a few listens. The lyrics are open to interpretation, changing meaning depending on your mood and making for an extremely replayable album. Despite its dark and electronic ambiance, after listening to the whole album I felt oddly peaceful, as if hearing it released my gloom. The songs that stood out the most were “The Epilogue,” “Option,” and “Trophy.” It’s worth a listen, probably worth the buy — but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Rating: 4 stars