Many Deftones fans seemed shocked when singer Chino Moreno announced a new side project with three-fifths of ISIS — everyone but frontman Aaron Turner and guitarist Michael Gallagher — last year. But they shouldn’t have been: This is the same guy who invited Mary Timony, Rob Crow and Zach Hill over to his Team Sleep sessions, not to mention the closet indie rocker who’s also largely responsible for the Deftones nailing covers of Jawbox, the Smiths, Duran Duran and Sade.
So yeah, there’s a sensitive indie rocker lurking beyond Moreno’s crimson wail. And he may have found a proper backup plan here, with songs that are as spacious and sun-screened as the coastal shot on Palms‘ album cover. Meanwhile, the ISIS camp take their winding compositions into uncharted territories that are closer in spirit to Jeff Caxide and Bryant Clifford Meyer’s cavernous work with Red Sparowes. Simply put, these are songs to luxuriate in — especially the dream-weaving denouement of “Antarctic Handshake.” Don’t get the wrong idea, though; this is not the scream-punctuated version of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album. More like a celebration of the limitless possibilities within multi-layered melodies, as six tracks stretch on for days without losing your attention in the process.