Wednesday, June 22, 2011

JEFF The Brotherhood Kicks It On Six

Jamin Orrall next to Neil Young's caddyJake and Jamin Orrall might be the sons of successful producer/singer/songwriter folk pop artist Robert Ellis Orrall, but they have unquestionably cut an independent and different path as JEFF The Brotherhood.

With the exception of a live album produced by Third Man Records, they've remained successfully independent with their free-spirited, partly-owned label, Infinity Cat Recordings. And recently, they signed on for a distribution boost from Warner Brothers. But even this new deal keeps everything, unmistakably, in their control.

"Everything goes through us, and we have final say,” Jake said in a recent interview. “It’s a very hands-on deal.”

The announcement of the new partnership with Warner Brothers came shortly after a groundbreaking 3 a.m. Moscow performance. And the move coincides with their new album, We Are The Champions. The label pairing isn't the only change to expect.

The LP is considerably more laid back than many of their earlier albums. It's also the most consistent across all 11 tracks, amounting to a serious shift in how the duo serves up music. Few of their previous albums carried as much cohesion.

We Are The Champions is packed with indie-infused laid-back garage rock.

Sure, Cool Out has a faster pace with its metal guitar and some punkish remnants in its pitch. Someone even complained the lyrics were too much of a rehash to be interesting, but that depends on when you've been introduced to the band. It's hardly tired as one of only two songs (the other is Shredder) that cross slightly into punk.

The balance of the album is laid back garage rock, more indicative of what excited Rolling Stone enough to classify Hey Friend as best new music (the first track on their sixth album). There's no rehash here; the lyrics touch on a playfully creepy family-envy story, set against some deep psychedelic stylings and riffs.

Bummer carries some of the same undertones forward too, meandering through heavy psychedelic guitar and tightly packed drum sets. Ripper too, which is largely an indie rocker with punkish vocals. What makes it most memorable is the heavy guitar and tempo changes, creating a decently complex arrangement.

Along with those mentioned, Mellow Out, Diamond Way, and Wastoid Girl (despite its early slowed down, extra heavy Weezer influence) are all worth keeping. And, when you add in their unmistakable chemistry and reputation for a recklessly exciting live performance, We Are The Champions plays like the opening of the next chapter.

If We Are The Champions is an introduction to JEFF The Brotherhood, there is plenty to discover, including early Be Your Own Pet (Jake helped found the band, before leaving after the first practice), fronted by Jemina Pearl. They've also worked with Ty Segall, who released his solo album Goodbye Bread yesterday.

We Are The Champions By JEFF The Brotherhood Shreds At 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Jeff The BrotherhoodIf you like any of the songs, purchasing the album makes sense because you'll find yourself going back to download one more single until you own the whole LP anyway. It could also be one of the last albums featuring the duo on their own. In a recent interview, Jamin Orrall mentioned adding three band members to the lineup within the next year.

Even so, the brothers intend to call all the shots. Having fun and retaining control is more important than any other factor, even as longtime fans have followed their slow climb up from newbies to princes within the Nashville rock scene. We Are The Champions is available on iTunes. We Are the Champions is also on Amazon or the LP can be picked up at Barnes & Noble.
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