When a major label like Warner Bros Records drops your band just weeks before the release of your album, most people would be utterly devastated, however this was not the case for Jeff the Brotherhood. In fact, completely reversing everyone’s expectations, the band even went on to say that they were ‘so fucking pleased’ to be dropped from the ‘demented vulture that is Warner Bros’… so no hard feelings there. After being picked straight back up again by their long time label friends at Infinity Cat Records, the Blues rock duo went on to release their eighth studio album ‘Wasted On The Dream’.
Straight from the offset it’s clear that Black Sabbath have had a very big influence on this band as the fuzz laden guitars, all too reminiscent of the work of Tony Iommi, set the tone of what to expect. Opening track Voyage into Dreams may be lacking lyrically (along with essentially every other song on the album) but the plethora of riffs, tempo changes and background synths make up for it. While it’s not the most engaging song, it is nonetheless quite fun. And talking of fun, second track Black Cherry Pie has it by the bucketful. Within the first minute of fist pumping guitar riffs we are treated to a flute solo from none other than Jethro Tull’s front-man-turned-concert-flautist Ian Anderson (yes you did read that right). Whilst this is utterly ridiculous both on paper and in reality, it is made slightly more digestible by the fact that Jeff the Brotherhood clearly are not taking things very seriously. It’s a textbook case of the classic ‘it’s so bad it’s actually kind of good’ syndrome.
However, just because the duo aren’t taking things seriously doesn’t necessarily excuse the lack of originality throughout the album, as Melting Place plays through like an amalgamation of all the great Sabbath songs and yet makes something that’s ultimately worse. However it’s not all bad news, one area in which the band excels is their ability to write a damn catchy chorus. Combined with the simplistic chords and Jake Orall’s vocal style, most of the band’s songs would fit in nicely on a ‘Beverly Hills’ era Weezer album. This is especially obvious on Cosmic Vision, where the falsetto vocals could almost have been delivered by Rivers Cuomo himself. Also featuring on one of the better songs on the album is Best Coast’s Bethany Consentino, who provides extra vocals on In my Dreams. The female and male vocals play off each other throughout the chorus, and share different verses providing a ‘call-and-response’ type effect which surprisingly works quite well. And to top it all off the song ends with a round of synths and eagle cries, the way any good old fashioned American rock song should.
Whilst there’s nothing excessively innovative or new about this band or their songs, it’s nothing more than you would really expect from your typical stoner rock band. There’s plenty of catchy choruses and riffs that we’ve heard a thousand times before, but ultimately we don’t really come to Jeff the Brotherhood for a new record breaking down the barriers of rock n’ roll. With a multitude of lyrics about weed, beer and the inability to sing Karaoke whilst drunk, the album is still undeniably fun. You’d probably be better off listening through the album under the influence of various narcotics, but that’s arguably the way the band intended it. As a collection of songs that would probably best appreciated sung drunkenly round a campfire, Jeff the Brotherhood haven’t necessarily created a good album, but they’ve created a damn entertaining one.
By Matt Austin