Review of Modern Rituals Album by Chief

This California four piece find themselves all of a sudden signed to Domino, like a bolt out of the blue, they find themselves rubbing shoulders with some very successful acts - they must be doing something right.

The Story of Chief is an interesting one, being raised in sunny California, the four piece moved to the cultural hub of New York City to enrol at university. It was while in the Big Apple that the band got together, mixing their collaborative talents to great success.

Now back in their native Santa Monica, the band release Modern Rituals, an album that promises so much, but does it deliver? Well at times it does, with aplomb, take single Your Direction for example, almost folky in its music, fiddly guitar parts, acoustic guitars picked via intricate fashion, yet anthemic in its melodies and vocals. It's a wonderful juxtaposition that brims with passion. Yet, Your Direction is a deceiving track, it far from reflects the mood of this album, its anthemic vocals flirt with the idea of being uplifting. The same cannot be said about the likes of Breaking Walls, as sombre as it is triumphant, it finds itself very much in the vein of the Verve at their very best.

Chief Modern Rituals Album

If Chief tell you that they're not fans of Neil Young, then they really ought to be carted off to the Jeremy Kyle show for a lie detector test. The soothing In the Valley is as close to the legendary Canadian as you can get, with its folk driven melodies and harmonious vocals. The same can be said of Summers Day, rife with attitude, its blues meets folk styling's make it an album highlight. But things don't stand still on Modern Rituals for long, contrasts come thick and fast in the form of You Tell Me, the most modern sounding track on the album, it features some unorthodox drumming styles, almost dance like bringing an undoubted edge to the table.

It's not hard to see why Chief have been signed up to a successful label, with 'nu-folk' currently in favour, these four Santa Monicans certainly have the arsenal of songs to capitalise. However Chief are no one trick ponies, they bring much more than just straight up folk to Modern Rituals, and it's when the song writing becomes cross generic that this album delivers the goods.

Sam Marland

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