Chief – Modern Rituals (Domino) 20/09/2010

October 10, 2010 by  

It is a tad ironic that U.S West Coast lads Chief reference the word Modern in their debut album release. For a band who specialise in producing a special blend of hooky, folky – if not at times Neil Young influenced – tunes their first offering is hardly contemporary.

On the whole Modern Rituals is a largely meandering, dreamy peace of work, which glitters in places primarily due to anthem ‘Breaking Walls’, the slightly Dylan esque ‘Summers Day’ and the heartfelt ‘This Man’.

Common to a plethora of bands, Chief comprise of a set of brothers, the ‘Fujikawa’s’, and it is lead guitarist Danny Fujikawa who takes up vocal duties for the aforementioned ‘This Man’. It’s sprinkled with take away guitar loops and a somewhat heroic sounding chorus, which makes it difficult to not become emotionally entwined with the track.

Recent single ‘Breaking Walls’ plods along with a swan like grace but has bravado a plenty. The ardent lyric “with you I wake and everyday’s like summer has come” sets the heart strings fluttering and this track alone ensures that a listen to Modern Rituals is not a wasted 44 minutes.

‘Summer’s Day’, one of Chief’s more upbeat numbers, comes suffused with some typically country elements helping to make it a gem of a tune. Singer Evan Koga and a magical, twinkling guitar part unite to engulf this track, highlighting perhaps the most integral parts of the otherwise relatively sparse sound of the group.

Closer ‘Night and Day’, complimented by haunting vocals, shows a darker side to Chief and perhaps an aspect that the band will develop as album two advances.

Whilst Chief will not redefine the direction of the annals of music with Modern Rituals, there are certainly enough delicious moments on this 11 song strong play on folk to make it worth indulging in.

[rating:3.5]


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