Chiefs- Tomorrow’s Over

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I wrote briefly about Chiefs’ debut full length Tomorrow’s Over back in January, intrigued by the band’s crunchy stoner/desert rock sound and killer cover art. Roosevelt Row Records released the album on CD/digital formats back in February, with Battleground Records giving it the vinyl treatment last month. Having properly spent a good deal of time with Chiefs’ material by this point (and putting off writing this for far too long), I can say that these guys make a strong first impression that pulls in some familiar elements from within the stoner/hard rock spectrum without ever fully cloning any of the bands they seem to have taken influence from. And although Tomorrow’s Over seems to stack some of its best moments earlier on and fades out a bit by the end, there’s still a lot to like about this one and anyone whose ears perk up at the mention of “desert rock” won’t want to miss out.

The overall sound that Chiefs is going for will definitely feel familiar right from the start, as there’s a healthy dose of Kyuss and Deliverance era Corrosion of Conformity mixed in with some more traditional blues rock elements. But what helps Tomorrow’s Over significantly is that the instrumentalists know when to shake things up and don’t simply just rehash riffs from those two bands for an entire album. There’s a good balance between the fuzzed out grooves that lumber forward with a clear sense of weight and faster sections where the overall sound moves a bit more towards traditional rock ‘n roll. Any rock album of this type is likely to be judged by its guitar work before anything else, and this is where Chiefs succeeds for much of their debut. For the first three quarters or so they’ve got one catchy lead after another, and the fact that not every track relies on a bottom heavy groove keeps them from falling into a predictable pattern. However, it does feel like Tomorrow’s Over tapers off a bit too much by the end. From “1999” until the title track finishes things off, the instrumentals mellow out some more and the hooks aren’t quite as strong compared to the rest of the album, but considering that the eight songs before those are so catchy I really can’t complain too much.

Guitarist Paul Valle also serves as Chiefs’ lead singer, and you might be pleasantly surprised to hear that his pitch is slightly higher rather than the gruffer ranges that usually dominate this type of rock. Though his voice does skew towards the lighter side there’s still a good deal of energy to the performance and it’s a great fit with the weightier riffs that the band emphasizes throughout Tomorrow’s Over. There are a few sections where I did get the impression that his singing was starting to get just a little shaky, but it never falls apart and there’s something about the occasional roughness of the performance that comes off as genuinely appealing. While you’ll likely find yourself paying attention to the riffs the most on that first listen because they have that immediate hook, Chiefs still has a very capable singer in their ranks.

Even though the last few songs may not have stuck with me quite as much as the rest of the record, Tomorrow’s Over is still a release I’ve enjoyed coming back to and spending some in-depth time with. There’s always room for more bands can channel this type of groove driven desert/stoner rock without simply repeating Kyuss note for note, and Chiefs does it well while adding some additional old-school rock ‘n roll influences for good measure. I do think that they have more room to grow and further distinguish themselves as they move forward, but this debut should still generate some buzz and get things started in a big way.

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