Chief: Modern Rituals

Chief: Modern Rituals
When you hear about a band relocating from New York after graduating from NYU to Los Angeles, I think there is at least an inkling about what the band might sound like. That inkling is not at all what Chief sounds like. Despite the big city locale, Chief’s sound on Modern Rituals is more suited for the backwoods.
I say that with a little hesitation, my idea of backwoods music is probably very different from actual backwoods music. Chief are not the modern Harry McClintock or anything. Their music shows tinges of Neil Young and The Band as well as modern influences like Portugal. The Man and Fleet Foxes.
The album’s first single, “Night & Day” does not necessarily showcase the band’s sound. The track features harmonies similar to Fleet Foxes but probably more like The Beach Boys. The thing that really makes the album unique on the album is its driving drum beat. Most of the tracks on the album are slow and plodding with a certain lilt to them, but “Night & Day” features drums that remind me of a slightly sped up Vampire Weekend “Oxford Comma”. The track makes for a good single but I just do not think the album will fulfill the expectations of fans’ of the single.
I can speak safely to those expectations, because Modern Rituals did not live up to mine. What is perhaps most odd is that all the tracks I enjoyed on the album are at the end of the album. The album’s last five tracks pick up the slack and “Night & Day” actually closes the album (the oddest placement of a lead single ever). But the first half of the album seemed like lazy, hazy pop that blended together into one long 25 minute song. Unfortunately, it is not a very good 25 minute song.
Rating: 4.8/10
MP3: Chief “Night & Day”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!