Tonight’s Concert Pick: Chief at Kung Fu Necktie

ChiefSome bands show such an admirable amount of restraint when writing songs that it sounds as if there are fewer people in the band than is actually the case. Then there are bands like California’s Chief, which is only a quartet, but might as well be a quintet or sextet. There are a lot of good ideas to be found in Chief’s debut album, Modern Rituals (released in August by Domino), but they’re often undone by excess: For example, the album’s closer, Night And Day, kicks off with a simple rolling snare beat and vocal melody that should be the backbone of a perfectly stripped-down folk-rock song. But then the bass and keyboards get busy, an acoustic guitar makes an appearance, backing vocals kick in, the reverb gets pushed too far, and you’re stuck with an echoing mess. That kind of lack of focus permeates Modern Rituals, which isn’t without its rewards, but contains more moments of frustration. Once the members of the band are able to sort through all of the various parts they have available for any given song and pick the ones that serve the song best, you’ll likely be hearing their name more often. Until then, that sifting responsibility falls on the ears of listeners willing to do so. Chief performs with The Dig and Chamberlin at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10.