Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The title track on Nashville band Jeff The Brotherhood's newest record, "Heavy Days," must have been a unanimous choice. There isn't another song on it that embodies all of the catatonic aloofness that Jake and Jamin Orrall embrace, but still conversely conveys it with a textured and psychedelic splattering of garage rock and roll that has the kind of bluesy punk angst to qualify it for some form of rebelliousness. It's fighting against the status quo, but never really finding anything all too despicable about the way things are going at the moment. "So things are shitty here," the songs seem to say, but all our friends are here and we'd just be dicking around in someone's basement, drinking whatever swill was cheapest and we'd be as broke as we are here no matter where we were. It's as if there's a desire to do something else, to get up off the couch, but never really being able to come up with anything better than sitting on the damned couch smoking pot so the needle just stays put and there's not much complaining. Lead singer Jake sings, "I take the time to do what I want/Things are going pretty good for me/I have been doing some things I don't like/Things are going pretty okay" on the song and we're led to understand something very vital about these brothers: they only get sweaty when they have to and most everything's going to sound halfway fine. They've got the time to kill and wasting it's really not a funeral. It's the way most people do it.
There's the sound of a buzzing horsefly as the song begins, as if it were circling over the remains of something that's been left to the worms, but then Jamin's drums start dropping steadily and they introduce us to a bit of "hello there" feedback before the guitar comes driving into the picture like something from a Breeders record or a hypnotic, hair-tossing, light show freak out. It's a punishing though agreeable barrage of nervy energy that comes from the need to explode sometimes, but only in a controlled environment. It's an explosion that just lets off steam, not one that destroys anything. "Heavy Days" is a testament to not needing things to change too dramatically for them to still be alright. All is tolerable, even when they're bitching and moaning, because they're able to go out and drink at the bar with their friends when they want to, they can shoot the shit with them anytime it feels good and it's all that's typically needed for most people. It's all most of us are promised. Jeff The Brotherhood is a band made up of two guys who will be wearing the same tee-shirts as 50-year-old men that they are now as 20-year-old men and they'll always happily seek out ways to make the doldrums and the painstaking days feel like an adrenalin-pumping leap off a cliff or bridge into a deep catch of water, with a whopping, cannonball splash that they can be proud of and that their friends will raise a cracked beer can to from the shore. General happiness, the Orrall brothers seem to suggest in their phaser-pedaled and sludgy way, should just get give in.