JEFF the Brotherhood – [Album]

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

As it turns out, all those associated critics, cynical doomsayers and associated worrywarts who have spent the last few years questioning the health and status of rock n' roll have been wrong all along; the details of rock's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Rock's not dead but, as JEFF the Brotherhood happily concedes on their major label debut, Hypnotic Nights, the music is finally willing to admit that it is a little older and does actually see itself that way.

Surprised? Look at this very short timeline:

Johnny Burnette sang about a girl being sixteen, beautiful and his in 1961.

Alice Cooper told the world he was eighteen and he didn't know what he wanted  in 1970 (honorable mention to The Stooges – who complained about being twenty-one and not having any fun in 1969).

…And, after that, there wasn't much talk of the passage of time; bands got to the “age of twenty-one,” and that was it; like any number of suburban housewives, rock denied how long in the tooth it might have been  getting for a long time.  Now though, rock music finally has JEFF the Brotherhood; a band who is willing to accept and celebrate at least a little more of the passage of time.

From the very beginning of “Country Life,” the opening track of Hypnotic Nights (their seventh long-player), JEFF the Brotherhood immediately starts playing with image and the sounds normally associated with it as they down a bottle of cooking oil for a little extra weight (and slipperiness) and begin gleefully thundering along like Marc Bolan's illegitimate children – complete with a dense, rhythm-centered horn section, heavy, glammy sounding guitars and simple, four-on-the-floor drumming – and selling the notion incredibly well. Here, the band has all the stomp it needs to prove they have the confidence to pull this off, but then they go even further and tell those listening that they're getting close to the age of twenty-nine – and make everyone stop and take notice.

Twenty-nine? That's an awful long way from eighteen, and sort of flies in the face of most of rock music's tenets of youthful rebellion. At least a couple of listeners will be able to pause and say, “Waitaminit –  twenty-nine? That's not much younger than my Dad!”

Such talk of comparatively advanced age will throw some listeners initially, but they'll come quickly back to center as they realize that those stomping beats, thick keyboards and frayed guitars are just about as addictive as greasy food and just about as much fun as a kegger on the last day of high school. After the hook of “Country Life” is set, listeners will find the same kind of fix in songs like “Sixpack,” “Hypnotic Mind,” “Staring At The Wall” (which helps to definitively answer the question of whether rock stars have nothing better to do some nights than write a song about nothing), “Hypnotic Winter” and “Dark Energy” and relish in each one not because they feature otherworldly imagery, but because each finds the 'awesome' in the 'simple,' just as bands like Weezer, The Sweet, Nirvana, T. Rex, Ian Hunter and Mott The Hoople have all done in their own times. It might sound dismissive to say that the reason Hypnotic Nights sounds so good is because it doesn't find JEFF the Brotherhood front-loading the album (and each song on it) with a silly amount of ambition, but that is absolutely the case; here, JEFF the Brotherhood doesn't try to be an ambitious or important rock band, they just concentrate on writing a great set of eleven songs and then unleashing it on the world to be judged and enjoyed on the strength of those songs. That's refreshing; here's hoping that they keep doing it, because the results really paid off on Hypnotic Nights.



Hypnotic Nights
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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