JEFF The Brotherhood
After my first listen to JEFF The Brotherhood’s new rocker, Hypnotic Nights, I suddenly had the urge to crack a beer. Or six.
With The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach in the production seat, brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall roll out their best album to date. Hypnotic Nights sees JEFF expanding their signature sound beyond straightforward garage rock and punk. Varied instrumentation, polished recording, catchy hooks, and killer energy make the brothers’ seventh album a must listen.
The first four albums were all limited releases, but showed hints of genius amidst a lack of direction. With 2009’s Heavy Days, a wider audience was finally graced with JEFF’s presence, and a bombastically loud album. Yet with 2011’s We Are The Champions, the energy was replaced with lots of pop and little variety, leading to an overall stale album.
Needless to say, my expectations were low for the new LP. I put the opener “Country Life” on play, and was greeted with the first line of the album, “I want a place where I can smoke meats.” Now that’s the JEFF I remember, not lyrical, not metaphorical, but a couple of guys that like to have a good time. They remind me quite a bit of The Ramones, but opt for grilling instead of glue sniffing.
The second track on the album, “Sixpack,” continues the fun spirit, and is a great, catchy rocker. The infectious chorus and monster riff makes this one the songs of the summer, perfect for a grill, a party, or a cruise with the top down.
“Mystic Portal II” finally has Auerbach take the reins, as he leads the brothers down a wild psych rock trip. “Wood Ox,” the weakest song on the album, is reminiscent of We Are The Champions, with more focus on pop than rock.
Fortunately, “Staring At The Wall,” kicks out loud and proud, circa the Heavy Days era. The brothers’ take on the love song shows their introspective lyrics, “One girl said to me / won’t you turn around and die / it must be something that I said.”
“Reign of Fire,” by far the wildest track on the album, shows the brothers deep into psychedelic territory, complete with sax, organ, and sitar. I never thought I’d mention sitar in respects to such a straightforward rock band, but the track is superb, and it showcases the new versatility of the band including a great guitar solo.
Beyond the clear-cut “Leave Me Out” and “Hypnotic Mind,” the album rounds out with a few more surprises, including the piano driven riffs on “Hypnotic Winter,” heavy metal on “Dark Energy,” and a cover of the Black Sabbath ballad, “Changes.”
Maybe it’s a decade of playing together, maybe it’s the influence of Auerbach, or maybe it’s the pressure of a major label debut. Either way, JEFF The Brotherhood pulled out all the stops for the new album. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go grab another six-pack.
Can’t Miss: “Sixpack”, “Staring At The Wall”, “Reign of Fire”
Can’t Hit: “Wood Ox”, “Changes”