JEFF The Brotherhood: Hypnotic Nights
- Actual real life brothers Jake & Jamin Orrall are pretty much my heroes. Not heroes in the same sense like Pauly Shore is my hero, and yes, probably in a lesser way than that - the day that any band release an album as good as Encino Man was a movie is the day I clean up my act and get a job at the bank. Regardless I think it's pretty badass that these two Nashville siblings get on well enough to not only tolerate each other, but, in fact, seem to have some kind of otherworldly musical connection that increases their personal affiliation with the groove, it's a thing that has always shone through, their musical output always bettered by this insatiable brotherly love. Did I mention the lads also run their own record label? Oh yeah, and it's called Infinity Cat, and with it they've somehow managed to wrangle a deal with the soul-crushing people at Warner, while supposedly avoiding the usual bending over that comes with getting into bed with a major (label). While some earlier Jeff the Brotherhood releases are relatively hard to come by, I've been assured that new record, Hypnotic Nights, is their seventh full length to date, though it's only the third to have graced my lazy earholes, despite my efforts to the contrary. Just last year I found myself enjoying the music of Jeff the Brotherhood, taking my talons and having a shredding good go at the, then, freshly-squeezed, We Are The Champions, a record that sounded like good-era Weezer with a big ol' sack of balls, that thing rocketed along something fierce, a frenzied little masterpiece; I really dug that record. This new record has got the brothers Orrall powering on for slightly diminished returns, trading some of their intensity for a bit of subtlety, They've hooked up with Black Key, Dan Auerbach, who's apparently not content with just writing and performing music, now taking a seat behind the mixing desk because apparently he knows something we don't. Auberbach's influence on Hypnotic Nights is akin to that of fellow collaborator Danger Mouse, a master in adding those little flourishes that can really take a record to the next level, though both seem to favour a polished sound, something which could just possibly be not what's needed in the good-time, garage rock sound that Jeff the Brotherhood have been working with. Auberbach surely picked up a tip or two directly from the man himself, with Danger Mouse partially overseeing the last three Black Keys records, and it shines through, with Hypnotic Nights showcasing sounds and musical arrangements more out-there than the guitar/drum combo duo have displayed in the past. Sometimes it's great, like when they diddle around with almost Eastern-sounding string arrangements and then within that same musical movement give you some sly sax for your troubles, rising and subsiding excitingly and never overstaying their welcomes. This record isn't going to set the world on fire, but it is another extremely enjoyable foray into the world of Jeff the Brotherhood, a slight left turn down a steady road. Killer number "Staring At The Wall" is a real pumper, a driving ditty that sounds like it's been shoved into the deep end of a public swimming pool somewhere near the end.
- Jay Edwards.