Album Review: CHIEF BROOM – hidden in plain sight
CHIEF BROOM is a band that was started in Boise, Idaho by two brothers, Shadrach Tuck and TJ Tuck. The collective's debut album commemorates TJ who died from fentanyl overdose at the age of 22 and honors his legacy. The LP features TJ's drumming and serves his artistic vision, also including samples from the brothers' childhood.

The love, care and attention to detail that the band and their team put into "hidden in plain sight" is evident from the first song. The short and heavy "snuff (prologue)" sets the scene for the whole record. Its massive and viscous bass and guitar riffs carry the air of loneliness and inevitability. Synth arps and string textures act as messengers of chaos surrounding us. The lyrics mention "them" – a dark crowd bound to "seek you out, gather 'round you and snuff you out like a candle in a dark room".

The track blends seamlessly into "hidden in plain sight (walked away)". Textural guitars echo the images of chaos from the previous track. The song describes "fucked up" days with "no sleep", so the chaos takes the form of a messy room with flies and pills (we can't tell if both are metaphorical or real). Terror takes the form of "our slouch, laid out on the couch, hidden in plain sight". The rich, multi-layered musical picture, despite its dynamic turns, brings no emotional relief.

"DFAH" was inspired by the way the band's hometown grew and changed throughout the years and how the places dear to their hearts were becoming unrecognizable. The song's hazy mix and nostalgic vibe create the impression of looking at an old photograph. The vocals have a similar quality. You feel like listening to someone singing from a distance, trying to break through to you.

"if only" starts with the lo-fi, washed out sound of acoustic guitar that brings to mind Elliott Smith's first record. The vocals here are bare and upfront, unlike the previous track. The instrument parts are simple and the arrangement is minimalistic. It creates a logical rhyme with the song's lyrics: "If only I cared, life would be different".

"suspended in air (interlude)" brings back some of the dissonant string textures from "prologue", but here they don't seem scary. The monsters of the night fall apart in the light of day. The composition brings a feeling of comfort, but this feeling is shaky and unstable.

"bless my ignorance (outskirts)" is an epic ten-minute track that continues the mood of the previous one. But then the darkness thickens. However, the song has further moments of deceptive serenity that effectively marry the feelings of bitterness and hope. It has a lot of ups and downs and sonic details that turn into the most interesting and richest composition on the record.

Aptly titled "saved (?)" speaks about the dissapointment in the answers provided by religion. It mentions children, bringing to mind the central scene of Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov". The lyrics are bitter, but the music here, with its transparent organ sound, still carries the torch of hope.

The album closes with "leaks (epilogue)". The song ditches sophisticated poetry and metaphors of the record for the touching lyrics about the loss of someone dear to you. It leaves you speechless and makes you want to come back to the record, face the demons, ghosts and darkness again, because at the end of the dark road there is not just hope, there is eternal love.