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First Impressions: Chief, “Modern Rituals”

By Nazirah Ashari on June 8, 2010


First Impressions: Chief, “Modern Rituals”

Modern Rituals
Release Date: August 17, 2010


1. The Minute I Saw It
2. Nothing’s Wrong
3. Wait For You
4. This Land
5. Breaking Walls
6. In The Valley
7. Stealing
8. You Tell Me
9. Summer’s Day
10. Irish Song
11. Night & Day

First Impressions

Come August 17, Domino Records release the album of up-and-coming Santa Monica indie rockers Chief, entitled Modern Rituals. This four-piece band consisting of brothers Danny and Michael Fujikawa (on vocals/guitar and drums respectively), Evan Koga (vocals/guitar) and Mike Moonves (bass) received the help from Grammy award-winning producer Emery Dobyns (Patti Smith, Antony and the Johnsons) to work his magic for their debut offering.

The album begins with the upbeat guitar-driven “The Minute I Saw It” and you’ll appreciate how the band’s vocal harmonies in the song’s chorus complement Koga’s rich raspy vocals before moving to “Nothing’s Wrong,” a feel-good guitar rock number that starts off laidback before getting more upbeat with consistent drum beats.

When fourth track “This Land” begins, you’ll notice the change in the band’s vocal position. Unlike Koga, Danny added that soothing, less-raspy baritone to this clean acoustic track, giving the album the variety it needs.

“Breaking Walls” is a beautiful melancholic number filled with a sunny-pop vibe, proving the band’s strong California roots, while “Irish Song” added the folky element to the album with beautiful slow-paced acoustics.

Final track “Night & Day” starts off with relentless percussion beats and the band crooning “oohhhs” before Koga sings the first line that explains what the song is all about ─romantic disappointment and the desperation to get out of a relationship: “I see see see you about every night but my heart don’t/It don’t feel right.” 

Key Tracks
“Breaking Walls,” “Nothing’s Wrong,” and “Night & Day”

Considering how they got signed to Domino Records without even having a full length album makes you think, “Hey, these guys must be good.” In Modern Rituals, they prove exactly that. By mixing solid folk-rock numbers with the signature sound of California rock, plus beautiful vocal harmonies that will be appreciated during shows and concerts (chances of sing-alongs are high), Modern Rituals is a hopeful album with breakthrough potential. 

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