Release Date: May 27th, 2015
Label: Telephone Explosion
There is a lot to like on Crosss’s ‘LO’. The trio take elements of goth, grunge and metal to come up with a refreshingly original sound of their own. Andy March also has a distinctive voice, with his deliberate pronunciation giving the proceedings a glam shimmer. Furthermore, although these are three clearly talented and competent musicians, they approach their performance with an exuberant looseness that lends the recording a “live” feel. It is all the more disappointing, then, that they stretch themselves too thin over the course of the 40-minute album.
The record kicks of with the strongest track, “Interlocutor”. The best elements of early acid rock (think Iron Butterfly) are combined with more contemporary alternative vibes to come up with a brooding, menacing piece, highlighted by March’s quirky vocals and entertaining guitar work. Sadly, much of the rest of ‘LO’ is more or less a reworking of the same template, so much so that by the time the sludgy “Golden Hearth” comes around the listener is suffering from a case of the sameness blues. This is only the third track.
All is not completely lost, however. On “Mind” and “Dance Down” the mood is lightened greatly so that the music is more along the lines of psychedelic pop, with just an edge of metal darkness. They are frankly a relief from the grind. Even here, though, the flow of the melody sounds all too familiar.
The closing track, the 18-minute instrumental “Enthroning The 4 Acts”, presents a dramatic change of pace. It is actually a fascinating work of goth/psych drone. It is ambience for a nightmare, as the slowly evolving passages transports us through a hellish landscape. In and of itself, it’s a highly accomplished piece, almost redeeming the entire album.
Crosss have to be commended for creating a unique and engaging sound. If they had taken the choicest tracks (say “Interlocutor”, “Dance Down”, “My Body” and “Enthroning the 4 Acts”) they could have put together an excellent record of four songs. As it is they are simply spreading too little material over too many tracks.