JEFF the Brotherhood’s third album, Hypnotic Nights, is out now on Warner Bros. Records, and despite the major label switch they still sound like JEFF the Brotherhood. The brothers Jake and Jamin have traveled more and grown up a bit, which is reflected on this new record, but they also still made some pretty good songs to have a rager in the woods to, where you can act like a horse’s ass on purpose and it’s awesome. Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys has production credit, aiding in a more polished sound overall, but the grit of the songs themselves remains mostly intact.
Much of the garage drudge from their first album, Heavy Days, has since begun to be replace by cleaner power pop rhythms and some extra instruments like the vibraphone action in “Mystic Portal II,” the repeated one note of a toy piano in “Wood Ox,” or the sexy sax and sitar in a spaghetti western sounding "Region of Fire." Luckily, though, they didn’t try to slack on the guitar solos too much. There do seem to be less wild jam outs like back in the Heavy Days, but they haven’t lost any spunk in the process. “Mystic Portal” even sounds reminiscent of “The Tropics” in spots, as far as the melody. Jake also sounds like he was free-styling the lyrics on that one, as in places they become meanderingly entertaining.
There also seems to be this story arc to the album of fading youth and failed relationships with the song ordering, going through being balls-out heavy partying, leading to some portals and hypnotic mind rides. This leads to the more confusing human interactions of “Staring at the Wall” and “Leave Me Out,” into the resident album slow jam “Region of Fire,” before being alone in the woods again for “Hypnotic Winter.” Whatever journey it took to get to that track was worth it, because it has what is probably the best guitar solo on the album. They chose to do a cover as the album closer – Black Sabbath’s “Changes,” which starts to become laborious at the end, but the comedown is never as good as taking that first drag while canoeing down a river.