I remember once my bandmate admitted whilst very drunk that he had a great secret. Casting an eye this way and that, he lowered his voice before speaking. “Dude,” he said in a confessional tone, “I think I like Team Sleep more than Deftones.” He stared into his drink as if it held some sublime wisdom.
Well, I think my Last.fm would testify to the fact that I love the Deftones, but I think I'd have to agree; much of what I love about the Deftones is present (in a roundabout way) on Team Sleep, and my favourite Deftones album, Saturday Night Wrist, arguably was heavily influenced by Chino's experience of working with the musical styles he flirted with on Team Sleep.
Anyway, whilst I had high hopes for Team Sleep coming back with a second record, it looks like that's not going to happen, which is a damn shame. However, there's a silver lining; namely that he had the time to hook up with some of the dudes from Far (admittedly a band I'm not that familiar with) and form Crosses (or †††, if you prefer).
Essentially a more electronic iteration of all of Chino's avant-garde urges, apart from a fatter bass tone Crosses have much in common with Team Sleep. The electronica of opener 'This is a Trick' is balanced out by the dream-pop 'Option', reminiscent of Curve or SPC ECO, while 'Bermuda Locket' has a little bit of Smashing Pumpkins' 'Eye' about it, and with a Corgan vocal could easily be a track from their Adore-era output.
The highlight of the set though is 'Thholyghst', which is kind of a mash-up of 'Tomb of Liega' and 'Live from the Stage' from Team Sleep. It's menacing and atmospheric, and when it finally cuts loose, Chino's voice soars above washes of triumphant, Machina-era Pumpkins industrial fuzz. It's joyous, sending shivers down the spine as it brings a smile to the face.
The question is, with this under his belt, can Chino put a foot wrong? Well, yes. There's no physical release for the EP yet, and no news of an album to follow, which leaves me frankly with a thirst that cannot be slaked.
While I wallow in existential angst, I'd suggest you download a copy for free from their Facebook page.