Plumbiferous Media

Modern Rituals – Chief

Aug 19th 2010
One Comment
Modern Rituals - ChiefChief
Modern Rituals
Score: 32

LA rock band Chief, founded in NYC when the members were students at NYU, has released their debut album, Modern Rituals, just a year after the band returned to its California home. Unfortunately,Modern Rituals is neither a particularly well-executed nor a creative album. Incredible amounts of repetition, uninspiring vocals, and lyrics that epitomize “generic” work together to prevent the album from being much more than tolerable.

Chief’s instrumentals are easily described: dense, harmonious, country-rock instrumentals. There’s really not much more to say about them, simply because there’s not all that much more to them. That’s not to say they’re bad per se – in fact, the band members seem to be quite promising technical musicians – they’re just not very good artists. This style has been done so many times that in order for it to be anything above mediocre, it has to be something special, which this is absolutely not. Chief’s music seems to be about as generic as possible, and as a result, Modern Rituals has the tendency to act as background music and little else.

While some tracks definitely try harder than others, the scale is quite relative. Modern Rituals sounds more like one very, very long track with very, very little content, even if some sections are somewhat better than others. To be clear, this does not sound like the kind of album that successfully uses highly connected tracks. Those albums, if executed properly, develop, change, and flow, even if the tracks link together strongly. Except perhaps by listening to the chorus lines, it is more or less impossible to distinguish between tracks on Modern Rituals, and this is, naturally, not a very good state of affairs.

Evan Koga and Daniel Fujikawa share vocals on Modern Rituals. This gives the album a bit more diversity than it would with a single vocalist, but doesn’t really do much past that. Both vocalists take the same approach towards country vocals: singing in the most generic manner possible in an apparent attempt to manage the quintessential example of the art. This, unsurprisingly, does very little good, and it doesn’t help that neither vocalist has much grasp of nuance, making absolutely certain that as little creativity as possible can creep into Modern Rituals‘s vocals.

The best that can be said about Modern Rituals‘s lyrics is that they’re quite well suited to Koga and Fujikawa’s approach to the vocals. The worst that can be said about Modern Rituals‘s lyrics is that they’re quite well suited to Koga and Fujikawa’s approach to the vocals. It’s less a contradiction than a condemnation of Modern Rituals‘s innate lack of creativity. The album reads as little more than a pastiche of rock-lyric clichés, from “And I wander in this land / And I want to make you understand” to “There’s a million million miles of wall / Cannot climb over / They are too tall / And I know / And I know I wish there wasn’t one at all / That’s just my dream / I wish that I could see them fall.” It also doesn’t help that every one of these severely lackluster lines is repeated at least three or four times.

As a whole, Modern Rituals is forty-five minutes of the kind of dull that passes boring and moves straight into painful. The kind of dull that makes you wish for drying paint as an exciting alternative, the kind of dull that makes you wish for the worst of Green Day, simply because that band at least pioneered this style of lyrics. Modern Rituals is not a good album. It doesn’t even have the courtesy to be an amusingly terrible album. Instead, it’s a waste of time; Time that you could spend listening to a jackhammer or a crying child, because if you’re going to be annoyed, at least make sure it’s done properly.

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One Response

  1. Dave says:

    Great Album, do you know their website? tks

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