JEFF the Brotherhood’s contradictions on “Hypnotic Nights” create a release both simple and complicated.
The Nashville sibling duo of Jake (vocals, guitars) and Jamin (drums) Orrall juxtapose D.I.Y.-smeared garage punk, melody-rich vocals, aggressive drones and tinges of psychedelia, resulting in an improbably cohesive sound that is distinct and, indeed, hypnotic.
The Orralls co-produced “Hypnotic Nights” with prolific producer Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys), a master at balancing grit and gloss.
Sounding like a poor cousin to Weezer, JEFF the Brotherhood is fuzzboxed-in to a sound of tattered beauty and chugging adrenalin. The listening experience is a bit like taking a cross-country ride in a dilapidated muscle car — windows down, engine blasting and muffler dragging for ambience. After a few miles, or perhaps a couple of states, it becomes the new normal.
The clamorous journey veers down unexpected detours (the trippy slow-grind of “Dark Energy,” the glowing vibe of “Hypnotic Mind” and the budget sci-fi dirge “Changes”), but mostly JEFF the Brotherhood rambles along as raspy Jake Orrall drops lyrical bombshells like, “Oh, there’s a sound in the trees/Ay-ay-ay!” on a careening “Wood Ox” and, “Nothing’s happening when I’m staring at the wall” on a ricocheting “Staring at the Wall” that submerges into a swampy romp at the end.
Apart from a few tedious stretches, “Hypnotic Nights” is a consistent rush with enough diversity between tracks to break up monotony, but not so much to break up continuity.
Taken in small doses, “Hypnotic Nights” could jab a rewarding reality spike into subdued or overpolished atmosphere. Taken as a whole, the mesmerizing release could lure listeners into a prolonged disconnect. Meanwhile, some might not tolerate even a minute of this bracing aural assault — and that, too, is a valid reaction.
Yet regardless of a listener’s response to “Hypnotic Nights,” there’s no denying JEFF the Brotherhood’s ferocious focus.
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of five)
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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