Armed for the first time with a major-label budget, Nashville duo JEFF the Brotherhood found themselves with a considerably longer timeframe to cut Hypnotic Nights, the just-released follow-up to their 2011 scuzz-rock breakthrough, We Are the Champions. But as guitarist-singer Jake Orrall tells Rolling Stone, the band couldn't slow down the recording process. "We tried to stretch it out and keep working," he says with a wry chuckle. "But we were done pretty quick. Hopefully next time we can try and take our time more."
It's unlikely. JEFF the Brotherhood crank out songs at a lightning-fast clip – the entirety of Hypnotic Nights, the seventh LP by the 26-year-old Jake and his drummer brother Jamin, 24, was recorded over seven days at Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Studios in Nashville, only a short walk from Jake's house. Jake says he frankly doesn't understand what takes bands so long to record new music. "You play songs live all the time," he explains. "It's not that hard."
Hypnotic Nights is a loose collection of beer-swigging, backyard-BBQ rock & roll delivered with a sense of humor. On opener "Country Life," for example, Jake makes a direct demand: "I want a place where I can smoke meats."
"When we recorded that song we went to do the vocals, I was like, 'Alright, don't laugh at me when I sing this first line,'" he recalls. "And of course Jamin burst out laughing." Innuendo aside, he doesn't see why smoking meats is so amusing. "I like to smoke meat a lot," he says matter-of-factly. "We usually, like, do meat racks and ribs one day at the studio. I like to smoke whole chickens. I like to smoke pork tenderloins and beef ribs and pork ribs. And sometimes I'll do the whole roast beef, like a whole six-pound beef roast.”
Other cuts on Nights, like the Auerbach-produced "Sixpack," venture into feel-good territory. But some of the band's older tunes – three songs on the album were recorded several years ago – dig deeper. On "Wood Ox," a whirring, synth-fueled riff-rocker that Jake originally wrote for a solo project when he was 19, he pleads, "Oh, bring the clouds, let it rain and flood and help the dead decompose."
While he knows he should be talking about the album, Jake admits he can't stop laughing about the Jack White-orchestrated, one-off song that JEFF the Brotherhood recorded last summer with Insane Clown Posse for Third Man Records – "Leck Mich Im Arsch," on which the Orrall siblings rock over a Mozart cut while the face-painted shock-rappers go buck wild. "All in all, it was a pretty hilarious day," Orrall recalls. "It's funny because we got a lot of shit for it, because people were taking it seriously. Like, 'What the hell? I don't understand.' Really all we were doing is joking around. It was pretty bizarre."
Listen to JEFF the Brotherhood's Hypnotic Nights below: