JEFF the Brotherhood‘s Wasted on the Dream manages to distill some of the best elements of 90’s rock and use their garage band ethos to create a surprisingly earnest entry in their discography.
“Voyage into Dreams” begins well with a strong sludge rock fuzzed guitar riff reminiscent of Kyuss struggles to maintain its early intensity as the song builds on. The vocals seem to fit the song poorly and lack the power to sell the song successfully, an out of place synthesizer riff does not help this and in fact detracts from the instrumental dynamic. “Black Cherry Pie” uses dramatically distorted guitars and late 90’s pop-punk vocal sensibilities to sell the nihilistic violent lyrics in a marvelous juxtaposition of the musical style against the self-destructive artistic angst expressed. All this and a pipe solo yet I still find it to be one of the best songs on the album. “Cosmic Vision” is a more conventional late 90’s rock song, while not bad is a bit by the numbers. Not bad by any means but the heavy distorted guitar and lyrics seem like a straight retread of too many songs from the era.
“Mystified Minds” is a faster paced approach that trends towards punk more than the rest of the album, the dueling leads on this track do add a needed element to the song that creates a specific sense of urgency. “Melting Place” is a slower more methodical piece that is half early Sabbath half Hendrix‘s “Burning of the Midnight lamp.” The contemplative and sonically crushing guitars create a pleasantly disorienting effect on the listener that is furthered by the strong leslie speaker effect that is straight out of the late 60’s. “In My Dreams” simplistic fuzzed riffs is a more contemporary sounding track that uses the interplay of vocalists to great affect and feed off each others energy in a positive way, the solo at the conclusion is a great coda to the piece. “Karaoke, TN” is somewhat undistinguished from the rest of the album and features an unremarkable instrumental section and uninspired lyrics. “Coat Check Girl” takes a more lighthearted approach to relationships and paints a simple story of instant attraction with a stranger. “What’s a Creep” is a nice transition from the seemingly innocent “Coat Check Girl” and utilizes a straightforward punk formulation to delve into the darker side of attraction and fixation. “Prairie Song” reprises the misanthropic viewpoint of “Black Cherry Pie” by relating the sense of disillusion and depression that results from the doubt of the path chosen. Certainly an easily feeling to relate to, and also evocative of the adolescent sense of malcontent that permeates the album.
Wasted on the Dream certainly has its faults and filler tracks but when the album gets its performance and artistic message together it really leaves a lasting impact. “Black Cherry Pie” is an example of what happens when this occurs and is excellent in both structure and lyrical content. When JEFF the Brotherhood dwell on the drawbacks of being an act that has been around as long as they have they are truly at their most compelling.