Music Review: Chino Moreno finally finds his solo groove with Crosses’ self-titled debut

Clearly an ardent believer of the old proverb, “Tis a lesson you should heed/Try, try, try again/If at first you don’t succeed/Try, try, try again,” vocalist and musician Chino Moreno has tried several times to create a musical side project as compelling as the band he has fronted for over 20 years – the Deftones.

There was Team Sleep – a quasi-experimental alternative group that dipped its toes in the genres of trip-hop, shoegaze and post-rock – which featured drummer Zach Hill of the brilliant industrial hip-hop group Death Grips. Team Sleep’s only album was a commendable, yet ultimately forgettable, first attempt by Moreno to forge a creatively divergent path for himself, far from the often aggressive and jagged sounds of Deftones.

“Forgettable” is also an apt description for Palms – yet another Moreno side project. Palms’ self-titled debut was eagerly anticipated by heavy music fans as it not only featured Moreno but also three members of the foreword-thinking metal band Isis. Though at times beautiful and intriguing, Palms’ sonic journey was clearly piloted by the members of Isis and sounded as though Moreno was just along for the ride.

With such lackluster side projects, no fan of Moreno’s would have held it against him if he had decided to give up entirely on participating in musical acts outside the critically and commercially successful Deftones.

As actor and comedian W. C. Fields famously said, when he parodied the proverb mentioned earlier, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”

Thankfully, Moreno proved his aspirations of forming a musical project outside of Deftones were not as foolish as many of his fans were beginning to think when he and Shaun Lopez – former guitarist for the now defunct band Far – created Crosses in 2011.

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