JEFF the Brotherhood
have been at this for a long time. Over a decade into their career, the band continues to make the music they want to make and avoid following mainstream trends to remain relevant. Unlike the immensely famous Black Keys
, JEFF the Brotherhood has remained largely under the radar, making them that much more lovable to their hardcore fans. With the follow up to 2012's Hypnotic Nights
, their most commercially successful album to date, Wasted on the Dream
finds the band continuing to expand on their already compact sound.
Album opener "Voyage Into Dreams" starts the album off with a bang. As the crunch buzzsaw riff rings through your headphones, the throwback 80's rock vibe will bring you instant nostalgia. As lead singer Jake Orall sings, "Voyage into the dreams/won't you come with me," the invitation seems honest and friendly. The band offering the listener a look into their mind and musical landscape is a nice gesture. As a trippy synthesizer comes into effect, it's almost as if you are listening to a psychedelic 70's cut fused with 80s thrasher punk. As the song ends, a female voice comes in to invite the listener to follow her on this voyage. Probably overkill after that chorus, but it's a forgivable action. It is clear the band is trying to show off all their influences.
The next track "Black Cherry Pie" keeps things dark. With heavy riffs making up the backbone of the song, a relaxing flute begins to play that somehow
works. The experimentation is appreciated and a nice switch up from angry guitar riffs that make me want to go out and fight a stranger. Jake is feeling particularly bitter as he sings, "We could all get in my van/and drive it off a cliff," before telling his muse, "Make me want to put a knife in your eye." Pretty brutal, but the band isn't holding back lyrically or instrumentally.
The album never lets up this dark energy. "Mystified Minds", sounding like an attempt at a Ramones cover with better musicianship, showing off drummer Jamin's chops. He keeps a tight groove in the pocket and hits the drums just hard enough to pop up from behind the assaulting guitar. The mixing is excellent for a punk album and shows a dedication to the craft. "In My Dreams" starts off with a guitar riff so distorted you might think that the engineer made a mistake. This isn't music to relax to. It is meant to get you the fu** out of your seat and chase off your demons. The song, a duet, features more female vocals with Jake allowing the guest to shine. The dream theme continues, as the singers announce, "In my dreams/I can't get away/There's a force taking me away/It happens almost everyday." At this point it is apparent that the dreams are more like nightmares and this is a catharsis to whatever struggle may be mentally exhausting JEFF the Brotherhood.
The band should be commended for their honesty. Album closer "Prairie Song" finds the band finally getting to the point. Letting the listener know, "I don't want to live anymore/somebody else's dream," the slight pause before the second line tricks the listener into thinking this is a suicide song. As the song rages on, allowing room for solo instrumentation, the idea of being yourself and doing what you want has never been more apparent. Far from sell-outs, I'm sure JEFF the Brotherhood have had a variety of offers that could have made them a lot bigger, yet they chose to stay the course. A commendable thing on it's own, considering the music is still entertaining. A short, compact album there isn't a lot of great or bad moments. The record is good and that's saying a lot. Although it has repetitive lyrics and sometimes indistinguishable guitar riffs, the short ride into their headspace and dreams is worthy of any punk rock fan.
Check out "Coat Check Girl" below and pick up the album here