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August 17, 2012 / jhsaeger

JEFF The Brotherhood’s Hypnotic Nights

   In July, garage rock band JEFF the Brotherhood released their seventh studio record, Hypnotic Nights, an 11-track album that only casts spells in the form of fuzzed-up guitar and crashing percussion. The band’s best-charting record to date, Hypnotic Nights is a big commercial success for the Nashville, Tennessee duo, who called in another current resident of Nashville to helm the project: the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach.
    JEFF the Brotherhood have been ruminating around the music circuit for a decade as a two-piece band comprised of brothers, Jake and Jamin Orrall. The band released several albums under the smaller Infinity Cat label and toured extensively until they were acquired by the larger Warner Brothers label last year, thus raising their profile with a substantially bigger platform to circulate their work.
     Hypnotic Nights opens with the short, grimy “Country Life,” where the impact of the duo’s garage sound hits the listener about four seconds into the record when Jake emits a terrific guitar bit. His deftness with a guitar continues throughout the record, as does Jamin’s ability to keep a ferocious beat behind the drum kick, most noticeably on the second track, “Sixpack.” JEFF the Brotherhood’s ability to fill up a garage also returns throughout the LP in the form of “Hypnotic Mind” and the feedback-friendly “Leave Me Out.”
     The group does provide a change of pace in the record, namely with “Mystic Portal II” and “Region of Fire,” where the guitar becomes a sitar, suddenly dropping the audience into India. Not to be left out of the shuffle, JEFF the Brotherhood may have planted the album’s best track towards the end of the record with “Hypnotic Winter.” A song comprised of goofy lyric-writing, “Hypotic Winter” is made by a driving keyboard part that gives the record its most up-tempo song before coming to a close with a pair of dramatic false endings.  The band then drew Hypnotic Nights to a bold finish with a very capable cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes.”
      Two-piece bands seem to have taken off this year, with JEFF the Brotherhood cracking the Billboard’s top 200 and the Japandroids celebrating their most popular release yet. It is best reasoned that the recent ascent of the Black Keys along the record charts has had a carry-over effect with record companies.  Hypnotic Nights is the third album produced by Auerbuach this year. The frontman has also worked on Dr. John’s Locked Down and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ The Lion The Beast The Beat. So far, Auerbach has managed to guide a diversified range of artists in his young producing career. Of the three albums, Hypnotic Nights contains the least influence of the Black Key songwriter’s most recent pop-oriented work, instead returning to his fuzzed-up roots.
    Jeff The Brotherhood are currently touring Europe, including festival stops at Reading and Leeds. In November, the band will begin a tour with the Delta Spirit that will include stops in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Boston, and Detroit. Hypnotic Nights is available as a digital download, CD0, and vinyl. 

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