The Toronto (via Halifax) doom-pop crew CROSSS have just released a new record called LO on TELEPHONE EXPLOSION, the stellar Toronto label that also released their last record. CROSSS occupy an interesting space in the underground, far too gloomy and off-putting for more straightforward pop ears, but several chambers removed from any kind of metal classification. They exist in one of music’s no-man’s lands, and one that is of their own making no doubt.
But that’s what we are most interested in here at the Hassle, the world of the outsider. And Andy March and his bunch are, by their very nature, this. CROSSS may have migrated westward within their northern homeland, but their music and aura most positively still reek of the mysterious (to the outsider anyway) world of Nova Scotia and its king city, Halifax.
“Dance Down” is the first song with video accompaniment to emerge from LO. The song itself is an aberration within the context of the record, an acoustic-guitar-fueled track that breaks from the electricity guitars that power most of the rest of these proceedings. CROSSS has approached this territory before, and it is one that very much compliments March’s twisting, elusive melodic approach. SYD BARRETT is an obvious signpost, but maybe PIP PROUD or SKIP SPENCE make more sense to you? “Dance Down” is dominated by acoustic guitar and March’s wavering, otherworldly voice, but it is the strings (or more likely fake strings) and vibraphone that have seeped into the song’s backdrop (and spring forth exactly when needed) that perfectly support the song’s stranger-emerging-from-behind-a-rock-in-the-woods-with-a-mouth-full-of-gnarled-teeth vibe. There’s just something wrong with that guy. There’s just something wrong with CROSSS, but I mean that in the best way possible. Collage comes to life in the peculiar video directed by Gart Darley and March.