JEFF the Brotherhood: Hypnotic Nights

jeff the brotherhood, hypnotic nightsJEFF the Brotherhood: Hypnotic Nights
“I want a place where I can smoke meats” are the opening lines of JEFF the Brotherhood’s major label debut, Hypnotic Nights. The choice to start the album with such an offbeat, simple declaration is a bold move, but it encapsulates how JEFF the Brotherhood aren’t compromising their aesthetic in the face of much larger distribution and publicity. More importantly, it sums up the band’s charmingly relaxed style, not acting like something they’re not or setting out to impress anybody. In spite of themselves, they do impress. While calling this album a varied musical tapestry would be a stretch, JEFF the Brotherhood are masters of their craft: Southern garage rock with a psychedelic twinge. That isn’t to say the album doesn’t touch on some darker, deeper themes.
Simple, summery tunes inhabit much of Hypnotic Nights’ first half. The album’s second song, “Sixpack” is one of the catchier songs on the album, evoking visions of halcyon Southern nights. “Hypnotic Mind” is a bit more energized and has a punk flair to it that is a slight departure from the songs preceding it. It’s another example of the band’s very literal lyricism, throwing out simple lines that could easily be mistaken for lazy songwriting–and maybe it is—but I chose to see it as a welcome change from overly metaphorical lyrics that can make certain songs florid and stuffy. With that said, the band resorts to a chorus on “Wood Ox” that is fairly similar to that of “Sixpack,” making one wonder if certain songwriting techniques on the album become repetitive and used as crutches. Overall, the songwriting here may be divisive, but I found it to be refreshingly lacking in self-seriousness. The back half of the album gets much darker, and you don’t really even notice it until you hit a melancholy song like “Region of Fire.” The album ends with “Changes,” an emotional, psychedelic closer that shows how far we’ve come from the album’s carefree beginning. Considering how lovely this song is, it’s foolish to even question whether this song fits appropriately with the songs preceding it. It ends the album on an extremely high note.
While you can quibble at the songwriting in parts, the album as a whole has so much going for it. There’s an undeniable charm to the entire proceedings and the instrumentation is very skillful. JEFF the Brotherhood has been making music for a while, but you cannot help but think that this will be the album that allows them to break out and reach mainstream success.
Rating: 7.9/10
MP3: JEFF the Brotherhood “Changes”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl