Chino Moreno really needs no introduction; from guest work with the likes of Norma Jean and Dance Gavin Dance, to his role as the frontman of the highly influential Deftones, Moreno has proved that he is someone who should be seen as an icon of modern alternative music. Some may remember that he also has a side project known as Team Sleep, in which he was able to venture into a more electronic side of music, however after the release of the band’s self-titled debut back in 2005, very little has been seen of them. With Team Sleep in a dormant state, Moreno has taken it upon himself to form a new project that will satisfy his taste for electronic rock, and with that we receive the first entry of his new project, †††’s self-titled EP.
As soon as “†his is a †rick” begins, you realize how prominent the keyboards will be in this album. Bringing in a haunted house-like industrial feel, the keyboards pave the way for Moreno’s soft, whispering vocals, as the guitars of Far’s Shaun Lopez echo softly in the background. Once the track reaches the 1:00 mark it explodes into a cascade of noise, as Lopez’s guitars finally become more prominent, while Moreno hauntingly repeats “Hello, hello, I know what this really is.”
Not all of the EP is as contained or as moody as “†his is a †rick.” “Op†ion,” for example, may begin as another dark electronic song, but proves to be more than that. The track fluctuates from the soaring choruses to verses that employ industrial influences, which accompanied by a backing drumkit sounds much more complete than other tracks in the EP.
While “Op†ion” may be a more vibrant affair, it really doesn’t compare to the energy that “†hholyghs†” brings. Starting off with a lone guitar, the track slowly introduces Moreno’s effect-heavy vocals. It may start out all doom and gloom, but it’s not long before a ray of light surfaces as the song begins to climax, but then quickly returns to Moreno’s whispering. Not long after that, the song does reach its climax; with soaring guitars and pounding drums, “†hholyghs†” becomes the EP’s most versatile track, especially considering the song continues to fluctuate from its contained verses to its thunderous chorus.
††† does a pretty decent job at keeping you entertained, but it only does so for a couple of listens. After revisiting the album, the overlying problem of the EP becomes apparent; the band uses the same tricks over and over again. If they’re not building up to a climax or hitting you with soaring choruses, then they’re creeping you out with some with witch house keyboards. It may be because it’s an EP, but they don’t get too many opportunities to show some variety.
With Moreno busy with Deftones, it is highly unlikely we’ll get a full length from †††, or that second Team Sleep album we were promised so long ago. But if you look at ††† as a continuation of Team Sleep, then we got more from this side project than we really deserved. ††† may not be Moreno’s best offering, but at least it’s still better than most music made by those who claim to be inspired by him. The EP is only five tracks, and it’s free, so is there really any reason why you shouldn’t be checking this out? No, there isn’t.