JEFF the Brotherhood Wasted on the Dream
Published Mar 12, 2015The Orrall brothers' relative careerism was always at odds with their fell-out-of-a Salvation-Army-donation-bin aesthetic. So it wasn't surprising for them or their fans when Warner Brothers dropped the duo last month. So while it remains unclear what Warner thought they were getting when they signed the band, it is surprising that the label cut them loose before releasing what proves to be the duo's best record to date.
The duo never have never had trouble milking hooks out of their fuzzy sound, but here everything is heightened, their stoner jams rocking harder than ever; "Coat Check Girl" is their most pop-friendly effort yet, a should-have-been rock radio hit. It's rife with guests, too: Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson stops by for a flute solo that somehow fits right in with the band's sound; Bully's Alicia Bognanno and members of Diarrhea Planet stop by; and Bethany Cosentino plays Lady Gaga to Jake's Tony Bennett on "In My Dreams," nicely breaking up the duo's guitar and drums attack. Hell, even some saxophone made it onto this record. And yet still, the warm, fuzzy tone of Jake's guitar is almost worth the price of admission alone.
JEFF the Brotherhood long ago constructed a box for themselves musically — if you didn't dig them before, you're unlikely to be swayed here — but they've proven incredibly adept at finding new nooks and crannies in which to mix things up. Whereas in the past they tended to operate on two speeds (slow and fast), here they've found a happy laid-back middle to build an album around. While it's unlikely they'll ever again have the kind of recording budget a major label can afford, they certainly made the best use of what they had. That they made an excellent record in the process is a feather in their cap and a giant middle finger to the label that paid for it. (Infinity Cat)