Boomkat Product Review:
Chief arrived at their new home on Domino from complete obscurity - an increasingly rare feat considering the size and stature of the label - with not an ounce of buzz surrounding them. Perhaps one reason for the band's fast-tracking is that they're a fundamentally 'classic' sounding outfit, dipping into West Coast pop sounds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young styled multi-layered vocal high jinks. In the demographic stakes you could reasonably place Chief somewhere between the adept, electrified folk of Fleet Foxes and the more arena-friendly, sing-along, Americana-inflected sounds you'd expect from Kings Of Leon. Modern Rituals offers a real craftsmanlike approach to rock music, but it also knows how and when to throw down a sizable chorus: previous singles 'Breaking Walls' and 'Night And Day' are in good company here, surrounded by strong offerings like 'This Land' and the very Robin Pecknold-esque 'The Minute I Saw It'. Grammy-winning producer Emery Dobyns (whose credits include Antony & The Johnsons and Patti Smith) oversees the album, and under his supervision both the mix and arrangements boast a real sense of space. At times the guitars sound almost skeletal; as if they're leaving a gap for those big clouds of vocal harmony to reappear in time for the chorus, yet there's an organic, almost real-time flow to the songs that defies the verse-chorus grid structures of the Pro Tools age. A likable and thoroughly well-made record, Modern Rituals comes recommended to anyone who's found themselves won over by the modern folk-rock of Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Midlake in recent times.