JEFF the Brotherhood : Hypnotic Nights

Written by Tom Speed

August 30, 2012

Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall have been cranking out crunchy, psych-garage rock as JEFF the Brotherhood (or some variation thereof) since they were in high school. Along the way, they indulged in a few side projects, expanded their band name from simply “Jeff” to its current moniker, and self-released a handful of homemade albums, collaborative EPs and other musical endeavors. And all this with not much more than a drum kit and a three-stringed guitar. But it wasn’t until 2009’s Heavy Days and follow-up We Are The Champions in 2011 that they started gaining any meaningful attention for their musical dalliances.

Both of those records were released on their own Infinity Cat label. But now they’ve upped the ante and in many ways with Hypnotic Nights. First of all, they landed a deal with Warner Brothers Records, which means that while they enjoy some of the big label perks like promotional budgets and global distribution, they also retain their creative control so that their well-honed sound remains their own. Secondly, they collaborated with a producer for the first time, and it’s none other than Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach, who has also put his fingerprints on this year’s brilliant Dr. John album, Locked Down, and recent records by The Ettes, Hacienda and Grace Potter.

Auerbach’s sensibilities are a perfect fit for the Brothers Orrall. Hypnotic Nights is loaded with loose-limbed, fuzzed-out rockers that embody one of the most crucial elements of the best rock music: joyous abandon. Though that balls-to-the-wall catharsis is nothing new for them, Auerbach has perhaps helped them focus it. And it helps that the hooks are just so damned catchy. On “Sixpack” the brothers roar through a celebration of partying with an irresistible sing-along chorus and a wall of feedback that has drawn inevitable comparisons to Weezer. The two – count ‘em two – songs with the word “hypnotic” in the title (“Hypnotic Mind” and “Hypnotic Winter”) live up to their titles while avoiding any tendencies to steer into boredom that might be implied by the word.

Most of the album follows this exuberant breakneck pace. So it’s odd that the most toned-down, minimalist song on the collection (“Changes”) is a Black Sabbath cover from the band’s famously cocaine-fueled, fast and furious album, Vol. 4. But it shows a reverence for their forebears as they worship at the altar of rock-n-roll for nearly a dozen delirious tracks.

The lead-off track, “Country Life,” is one of many highlights. It’s crunchy and catchy as hell, all while being fast and loud and all full of that joyful abandon. And though they sound like seasoned pros (and they are—after all, they have been at this a while) they’re young. The refrain underscores that youthful vigor with the ecstatic reverence for music that blossoms in youth: “Can’t wait until I’m 29, what if I run out of time? I still got so much to do, and I got my records too.”

Hell yeah, they have much more to do, and records too.

Hypnotic Nights is out now on Infinity Cat/Warner Brothers.