Release Date: Jul 17, 2012
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
There are two songs on the new Jeff the Brotherhood album with the word “hypnotic” in the title. It’s truth in advertising: This drums-guitar duo of Tennessee brothers know how to zone out – from the two-chord scuzz-Ramones blitz of “Staring At the Wall” to Weezerian sludge-pop like “Dark Energy” to “Hypnotic Winter,” where drummer Jamin Orrall’s Kraut-rock pulse undergirds singer-guitarist Jake’s driving trance-strum. Hypnotic Nights is a little more stoner-y than last year’s speed-crazed We Are the Champions, and it’s got a good-natured sense of slacker irony; covering Black Sabbath’s grand piano ballad “Changes” so it sounds like it was recorded in a haunted house perfectly splits the difference between homage and satire.
After a decade of releasing albums through their own Infinity Cat label, brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall, better known as JEFF the Brotherhood, make the jump to Warner Bros on their seventh album, Hypnotic Nights. The album finds that magical middle ground between sugary pop and heavy rock that Weezer once dominated in the days of the Blue Album. The brothers Orrall have tightened up their sound into something thicker and more cohesive while stepping further away from the looser, more psychedelic sound of Heavy Days, and in the process have stumbled into a sound that beautifully captures the aimless days of summertime.
Nashville brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall want the simple things in life: to hang out with friends, to drink a ton of beer and, oh yeah, a handle on their lives and relationships. Hypnotic Nights, JEFF the Brotherhood’s sixth full-length album, aptly describes the frustration and restlessness that comes with getting older. Here, the duo shows maturation musically and lyrically, albeit wildly, proving that they are true, spirited forces to be reckoned with.
Southern Rock seems to be undergoing a bit of a Renaissance lately. You can look to bands such as Baroness, which was originally based out of Savannah, Georgia, who, with Yellow & Green have delivered one of the year’s most head noddingly delightful hard rock albums. However, if you trek just a little bit north, but stay well below the Mason-Dixon line, you might find yourself in Nashville.
It's summertime, which means that, right now, all across the land, lifetime friendships are being forged and virginities are being lost, and the fond reminiscences thereof will be forever associated with whatever songs happen to be playing in the background. Because the soundtrack to our lives is often accidental and serendipitous, comprising random tunes that turn up on the radio, or on shuffle, or in a DJ's playlist at just the right moment, thereby conflating a certain song and a certain shared experience into the best night of your life. But JEFF the Brotherhood ask: Why leave it all to chance? Why not just reach for a record that's already as up for a good time as you are? The fraternal Nashville duo's seventh album-- and debut for Warner Bros.
Jamin Orrall, half of Nashville duo Jeff The Brotherhood, is the ex-drummer for briefly thrilling mid-noughties punks Be Your Own Pet. The less famous but equally rockin’ JTB boast seven albums to BYOP’s two, but still sound as young and reckless as the day they started, thanks to the schoolyard spirit in Jamin and his brother Jake’s music. ‘Hypnotic Nights’ is produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, and songs such as ‘Sixpack’ fit nicely into the Weezer-shaped hole in the world.
Jake and Jamin Orrall are mere twentysomethings, but these Nashville brothers – linchpins of the city's garage rock scene – are already on to their seventh album. Admittedly, some of the earlier ones were strictly limited runs, so this – their first on a major – is their first push at winning a large audience. What you get with a guitar-and-drums duo tends not to be unnecessarily complex music, and so it is here – the guitars are set to buzz, the drums bang, and the odd squiggle of synthesiser offers a dab of colour.
The last thing a long-time JEFF the Brotherhood fan would expect to hear on a Bogus Bros album is a saxophone solo. Its appearance during 2011 – the year of the saxophone – in the Fleet Foxes, Destroyer, and Bon Iver albums made sense; but JEFF in 2012? The band whose three-string guitar, beat-up drum kit, and wall of amps incite brutal mosh pits worldwide a couple hundred times a year? Group the sax in with production work by Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach, and you’ve got the skeleton for Jake and Jamin Orrall’s seventh full-length Hypnotic Nights. “Region of Fire” devolves into a swirling mass of psychedelic guitar and saxophone, Infinity Cat is no longer the sole label in their lives and Auerbach’s fingerprints are all over the record.
By and large, most of us are raised to root for the good guy. In rock music especially, there’s a sharp contrast between the jaded, opinionated star with unsociable tendencies and the all embracing, conciliatory star who’ll make it his mission to be loved by all with meaningless emotional poppycock. And then there are the ones who are somewhere in the middle, like JEFF the Brotherhood, who avoid taking themselves seriously at all costs and like to make nice with everyone, even if the sleaze may steal your girlfriend and expect you to be cool about it.
Just over a year after dropping We Are the Champions, Nashville duo JEFF the Brotherhood try out their new deal with corporate behemoth Warner, delivering Hypnotic Nights (not to be confused with last month's Hypnotic Knights EP, all four songs of which appear here). Despite the heavy-hitting financial backing, the brothers don't really bother to switch anything up ? any of these tracks could have appeared on either of their last two albums. But while the basic premise is the same ? singer/guitarist Jake Orrall's lackadaisical vocals are featured overtop some of the best punk, garage and psychedelic rock tracks going ? the pair's songwriting just keeps getting better.
THE VERY BEST “MTMTMK”. (Moshi Moshi/Cooperative Music).
When word came down that Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach was going to be behind the controls of the new Jeff The Brotherhood album, the hope was that he would bring back in some of the garage rock looseness that marked the band's earliest work but has been systematically chipped away over the years. Alas, the Orrall brothers have instead doubled down on a sleek commercialized sound sure to appease their new corporate overlords. (This is the group's first for Warner Bros.