Real-life siblings Jake and Jamin Orral have produced garage rock records under the Jeff the Brotherhood moniker since 2002. While all previous LPs were released under indie label Infinity Cat, Hypmotic Nights, their sixth full-length, finds the group partnered up with industry giants Warner Brothers.
The transition hasn’t effected the group’s sound much. Most of the material here will be pleasantly familiar to anyone who enjoyed their well-received 2011 effort We Are the Champions. The recordings may sound a little cleaner, but fear not, the distorted riffs and propulsive snares made the trip to Warner’s with the band. Hypnotic Nights also finds the group sounding once again as though they’ve been drinking beer and listening to the Blue Album a lot (hey, just like me!). Like that other power pop-by-way-of-garage rock album, the lyrics on Hypnotic Nights dwell frequently on the themes of teenage boredom (“Nothings happening when I’m staring at the wall”) and partying (“Let’s load the car up, I got a bag of ice, I got a six pack”). The release of the album is well-timed; it seems like it was recorded specifically to serve as the soundtrack for summer drives to the beach.
The album should work. The songs (few of which break four minutes) are direct and all pulse with energy, the performances are tight and professional, the cleaner production fits and enhances the band’s sound (with the guitar coming through so clear and distorted now that its strings seem almost serrated). And yet…there’s just not much here. After one spin you will remember nothing. After two, you might recall a snippet or two. Maybe after three you can put a title to a memory. Mind you, everything here is at worst decent — the Orrals are professional songwriters with good taste, and it shows — but still none of it leaves any impression. When Hypnotic Nights plants its foot in the ground, no earth is displaced. I recommend bringing somebody’s iPod too; otherwise this might be kind of a lame drive.
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