JEFF the Brotherhood Is Ready To Explode.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Not every story has to be wildly dramatic and feature a series of cliffhanger dramas or recollections of terrible turmoil, sometimes it just has to be satisfying in the end to feel rewarding; like everything worked out how everyone wanted and the results were great and everyone is able to say it was just a good experience. That's exactly how it feels when one hears JEFF the Brotherhood singer/guitarist Jake Orrall lay out the series of events surrounding his band's newest effort, Hypnotic Nights. “Making Hypnotic Nights was so easy, it's almost unbelievable,” says Orrall of the process and sequence of events which yielded JEFF the Brotherhood's seventh album which on a brief promo/press stop in New York City. “Dan [Black Keys singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach –ed] asked us if we wanted to record some songs in his studio, and he doesn't really work in his studio if he's not at least co-producing, so that's how it went. We had a bit of time off coming up at the time and we had been planning to record an album anyway, so we just decided to do it then; he was fine with that, so that's what we did.

“We already had all the songs written and we'd been playing them out live so they were already in the shape we wanted them, and the plan was just to walk in, cut 'em, and then step back from them to see what they really needed to make them more interesting,”  continues the guitarist. “Working with Dan was really smooth and easy because he seemed to have an answer for everything we were thinking about; like when we'd say, 'Hm, I think we need a saxophone right here,' he'd just say, 'No problem. I know a guy,' and he'd make it happen, then we'd say, 'Oh – we need a singer with a really soulful and sultry kind of voice,' and he'd say, 'Oh no problem! I know someone who will come in and do it!' Every time we had another idea like that, he'd have the answer and would get the wheels turning on it – it was pretty cool, and the end results turned out to be pretty much exactly what we wanted.”

In listening back to the record now, it quickly becomes apparent that 'exactly what [they] wanted' was to make an enormous and imposing rock document – and it works out beautifully. From the very beginning of “Country Life,” the opening track of Hypnotic Nights, JEFF the Brotherhood immediately starts playing with images of Seventies rock orthodoxy 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. 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 there are moments when 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. That said, it's true that the drive behind Hypnotic Nights is not new but, because the band pushing it is and it has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm mixed in for good measure, it blasts out as incredibly refreshing. “We're really proud of how the record turned out in the end,” says Orrall with a certain forthright candor which can only be taken as the straightest imaginable truth. “It has gotten pretty mixed reviews so far, but our fans really seem to like it. I think that's par for the course though; this is our first record for Warner Bros., and I think there have to be a couple in there which aren't positive initially, because it takes some people a little longer to get into somthing; the two bad reviews that I've read so far were just comparing it to some of our older records, so I think they were just being stubborn [laughing]. Other than those, people have taken to it pretty positively which feels pretty good; I mean, we didn't set out to make anything huge or anything like that, we just wanted to make a rock record. It has obviously worked out so far, so I guess rock isn't as far down as critics have been saying lately [laughing].”

With Hypnotic Nights now out and beginning to build some steam with both critics and listeners, Orrall begrudgingly admits that he's getting excited about hitting the road to support the album. “We're doing a short string of dates around the U.S. before we go to Chicago to do Lollapalooza, and then we head to Europe for three weeks, then we have a west coast tour here after that,” says guitarist with a certain curt urgency that can't help but be exciting. “Our buddy Juicebox will be opening these first shows for us; he's a rapper from Milwaukee. I know some people might think having an emcee headed out with us might be odd, but it makes perfect sense if you see his show; he's a really incredible performer and is able to engage pretty much anybody, so we thought it would be a good match because he could go out there and get everybody worked up before we come out and knock 'em over. We usually try to do an even mix of the last three albums live, but we've been including as much of the new album as we've been able, because I think it really does feel huge and can leave a great impression on people. For right now, it's just me and my brother Jamin on stage which means we've had to rearrange some things so we can make it sound good live. I mean, it can't sound exactly the same as the record – some parts get extended or shortened or whatever – but it works we've been pretty happy with how the new songs sound. Once we get a little more money to be able to afford to bring some extra musicians with us, we'll start adding even more too and make the show bigger but, for right now, the challenge is to work hard enough and play hard enough that people will be knocked over by what we are and what we can do at our core.”



Jeff the Brotherhood is on tour on select dates around the United States now. Click here for an updated list of shows.


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

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