Composed of two Nashville-based brothers (Jake and Jamin Orrall), JEFF the Brotherhood is a guitar-drums duo like the Black Keys or the White Stripes. The band's music, however, isn't like either of those bands (even though the The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach produces here). This album serves as the band's major-label debut, and HYPNOTIC NIGHTS is another entry of distorted, fuzzy, punk-rock that sounds like mid-90's alternative.
Beginning with the fantastic "Country Life," HYPNOTIC NIGHTS hits the ground running. The song is a great summer anthem, laced with a touches of saxophone and electronics. The following song, "Sixpack" has many of the same qualities, and these two songs start the album out with a pair of its best tracks. Unfortunately, things stall with "Mystic Portal II", a song that doesn't pack much of a punch and finds the band sounding bored with itself. "Wood Ox" sounds like it has potential, but vocalist Jake Orrall sounds detached and bored with himself midway through. Unfortunately, much of the back half of the album carries this feeling. "Region of Fire" slows the album down completely with its judicious use of sitar. "Dark Energy" feels a bit more serious than other songs on the album, and it pays off -- it's a slowburning, distorted, stoner-rock tune that takes its time. The album concludes with "Changes," a Black Sabbath reinterpretation that the band makes their own. Mellow, slow, and laced with synthesizer, it's strange way to end the album, especially given that the band doesn't really seem to take it too seriously.
Fans of Weezer, the Ramones, or Pavement will probably find material here to love; HYPNOTIC NIGHTS sounds like a blending of the three bands. For fans of JEFF the Brotherhood, HYPNOTIC NIGHTS is a fine entry into the band's canon. Listeners unfamiliar with the band would probably do well to start listening here Standout songs to sample/download: "Country Life," "Sixpack," and "Hyponitic Mind." This album can be frustrating -- it begins with its two best songs, and many of the latter songs feel as if they have more potential than is put on record.
(Additional Release Information) The deluxe version of HYPNOTIC NIGHTS (Hypnotic Nights (Deluxe Version)) includes two bonus tracks: "Master of the Universe" and "I'm a Freak." Both of these songs are covers and recorded live. "Master of the Universe" is a Hawkwind cover, and "I'm a Freak" comes from Wicked Lady (both bands from the 1970's). These songs are fine, but not essential -- recommended only for JEFF the Brotherhood fans.
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