Chief explores Modern Rituals [Album Review]

by Woody on August 30, 2010

Like many of my favorite bands, Chief has the ability to create soaring 3 and 4 piece harmonies that transport you to a time a long ago. The quartet grew up in CA, but all met at NYU. Now back in Cali, the band’s debut album Modern Rituals best resembles their upbringing with a Laurel Canyon-feel as it takes you on a mellow ride with each listen.

Like another debut this year, Local Natives’ Gorilla Manor, Chief’s drawing card are the aforementioned harmonies. Unlike Local Natives, the accompanying music is not as propulsive and varied. Chief opts for tasty guitar licks with a steady backbeat (which remind me of The Strokes & The Walkmen) that rarely veer off course. Whereas Gorilla Manor is so immediately striking and appealing, Modern Rituals is better appreciated over multiple listens as it lazily sucks you in to the beauty Chief’s music. Two different approaches and two great debuts. A couple of my favorite tracks include “Stealing,” “Nothing’s Wrong” and “Irish Song.”

Modern Rituals is best consumed in its entirety while lying outside or on a long countryside drive. Let it wash over you and feel your mood take a turn for the brighter side. All in all, Modern Rituals is a fine debut by a very talented band. Chief show a tremendous amount of promise and I am sure you will be hearing plenty from them moving forward.

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Chief – Night and Day

From their EP:

Chief – Your Direction

Live Video: Chief – Night And Day (Watch, Listen and Tell Session in London)

Official Video: Chief – Night and Day

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

oz August 30, 2010 at 7:41 am

Chief’s EP blew me away. At first, I thought this was too monochromatic compared to the EP. Your Direction, Nice People, and Irish Song were very different and each were very good singles. Modern Rituals doesn’t have that variety, but the album is very cohesive and the variety is subtle and reveals itself – as you said – over multiple listens.

Love the comparison to Local Natives, and not just because of the mustaches. Chief may be less ambitious, but let’s face it, Local Natives are a juggernaut. Chief serves a different mood entirely.

greg August 30, 2010 at 10:12 am

although i gre up in LA and now live in NY i credit hearya for the discovery of chief however after having this record in your most anticipated of all of ’10 and reading your review…i can tell you were basically as disappointed as i was in this. along the same lines of ep to lp dropoff as alberta cross. oh well…still love the live shows and hope they find the right producer for the next record.

Sir Indie September 2, 2010 at 6:04 am

“Night and Day”
Awesome song! As a first time listener…amazing first impression of CHIEF!


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