Having recently signed to Warner Records, Nashville’s Jeff the Brotherhood, have released their debut for the label, and sixth long-player. Hypnotic Nights is an 11 track album covering a pretty broad spectrum of psychedelic rock, garage/grunge, and pop. Being co-produced by The Black Keys’ Dave Auerbach, this record signals a new and mature era for the two-piece.
Opening track “Country Life” is a likeable and simple song, but not the bands’ strongest of the record. Especially with weak lyrics like “I wish I could go today, but then I know I wouldn’t get to stay”. “Sixpack” is a possible salute to the bands’ apparent love of hooch (see youtube), and again, is a well-rounded, distortion-friendly song that didn’t grab my attention.
I could hear subtle hints of Weezer marbled throughout the first two tracks, and “Mystic Portal II” was no different. This track actually got my head rocking ever so slightly. Thick and fuzzy guitar topped off with some exotic sitar strumming. Upbeat “Hypnotic Mind” is a heaving song that builds up to a nice breakdown complete with some pretty epic soloing from guitarist Jake Orrall.
“Wood Ox” is a stand out track. An extended and hypnotic intro precedes a deep backdrop of guitar layered with synth-style effects. Jake Orrall’s vocals are a highlight for the record, with a no-frills approach that suits the band’s grunge moments. “Staring At The Wall” follows this line of simple up-beat garage blistered with feedback and echoed effects, but again is ruined by Jake Orrall’s lack of lyrical talent . A slight sense of Nirvana ( and I stress slight) fills “Leave Me Out”. Yet, by track seven I was beginning to get a sense of 'business as usual’ for this Weezer-esque record.
“Region Of Fire” is quite a departure from the rest of Hypnotic Nights. Taking the foot off the throttle and journeying into a world of saxophone and sitar, with an enthralling gypsy-style track. Quite a good mix up from what was starting to bore me.
Boredom was reignited with “Dark Energy”. JTB lists Weezer as an influence, as they should, I love me some "Pork And Beans". But by the time track ten rolls around, it can get a bit much. Not to say these guys don’t know what they’re doing, because they clearly have a grasp of a genre that encompasses many.
“Changes” lives up to its name and keeps me on my toes once again. Covering Black Sabbath’s classic and completely flipping the script. Layered synths and building pianos, with a Pink Floyd / Animal Collective feel. The track that took me by surprise, and showed me what this band is capable of.
There are three or four standout tracks on this record, and I'm finding it hard to think of a situation where I would put this record on in its entirety. This said, while these guys certainly aren't reinventing the wheel, you're going to be hard pressed not to find a few favourite tracks of your own.
Review Score 6.7 out of 10