I've been a fan of Chino Moreno since the early days of The Deftones. Around the Fur and White Pony soundtracked a hearty portion of my early teenage years. I also really liked Team Sleep, Moreno's first foray into more experimental, mellower tunage.

Team Sleep only released one album, a self-titled LP that dropped in 2005. I waited patiently for a follow-up. The group announced a new record, and even put out a few new songs, but, sadly, that album never came. So, when the opportunity to review the debut self-titled LP from Crosses (stylized †††), Chino's latest experimental, electro-influenced project, I pounced on it. My hope was that it would fill the void left by years of anticipation of a new Team Sleep record, but what I got was something quite different.

Moreno, Shaun Lopez (Far, The Revolution Smile) and producer Chuck Doom have put together a real gem with this long player. Crosses explores numerous styles - witch house, industrial, ambient and electro-rock - and spans textures from chill to aggressive. And the trio execute these tracks, for the most part, without coming across as contrived or over-reaching.

Just from the first few bars of opening track, '†his Is A †rick', with its hip-hop beat, flabby bass and glitchy electronic samples, you know you're in for something unique. Moreno even treats listeners to his signature scream on the hooks.

There's all kinds of neat sonic combinations on this record. Like 'fron†iers', flowing from a dark, plodding verse into the major lift on the chorus; then shifting into an ambient bridge and dropping a muffled answering machine message in the mix (I'm a sucker for found sound injections). '†elepa†hy' finds the band meshing a disco beat and funky, Michael Jackson-esque bass with some Nintendo-y arpeggios and post-rocking tremolo guitar. 'nine†een nine†y four' incorporates acoustic guitar, pedal steel and hyper-delayed classic guitar for one of the album's slower, moodier tracks.

Tracks like 'nine†een eigh†y seven', '†rophy' and '†hholyghs†', with their slower tempos and extensive use of atmosphere, are the closest thing you get to Team Sleep. But even '†hholyghs†' gets big and noisy on the chorus, and 'nine†een eigh†y seven' culminates with a wash of noise.

Elsewhere Crosses gets pretty nasty. 'op†ion' kicks in with a grimy, grinding bass riff before rising to an uplifting, yet melancholy, chorus. 'bi†ches brew' and '†his Is A †rick' have sections that get rather raucous as well.

There are a few places on Crosses that fall short. 'bermuda locke†' has ridiculously cheesy lyrics. Musically the song is alright, but Moreno's phoned-in attempt at writing a cliche love song makes this track a skipper.

Despite a couple of assorted shortcomings, Crosses is a solid album. Moreno, Lopez and Doom draw from a vast palette of tones to create some legitimately interesting tunes. Lyrically, Moreno's songwriting is pretty strong, aside from a few missteps. I've not really heard anything like this, and, in the face of some pretty high expectations, Crosses delivers.