Jeff the Brotherhood: a band for all seasons


Wednesday, January 16

Stoke Factory, Wollongong


Jeff the Brotherhood like to keep things simple. Hailing from Nashville, in the US, and consisting of brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall, the guitar and drums duo play a melodic, no-frills brand of garage rock.

While drums and guitar is just about as uncomplicated as it comes, Jeff the Brotherhood have simplified that even further with Jake playing a guitar with only three strings.

"When we started the band, I didn't know how to play guitar," Jake says.

"I thought, in order to teach myself it would be easier to play if I simplified it.

"I started with two strings, but you can't really play any chords that way, so I added a third string [which added] this interesting limitation that forced me to create my own style and approach to the instrument."

Lyrically they don't get over complicated either, singing catchy songs about good times. The single Sixpack, for example, is pretty much about hot weather and cold beer.

"It's about going to the river with your buds and gettin' messed," Jamin says.

Jeff the Brotherhood are in Australia for the Big Day Out concerts and will be playing a number of sideshows around those dates, including the first show of their Australian tour in Wollongong tonight.

All up they will play 11 shows over 13 days in Australia - a pretty typical pace for the brothers, who have a reputation for touring almost constantly and playing in a variety of venues, from basements and backyards to big concert halls.

Playing in front of 10,000 people one day and a couple of hundred the next isn't likely to throw them.

"Nope, it's all part of the game; another day another dollar," Jamin says.

Both styles of show have their advantages, he says. At the big festival shows you "get to meet nice people and ride around in a golf cart", while the more intimate venues "sound better and you can touch the audience".

The press release for their latest album, Hypnotic Nights, says that their live shows are "raucous", although Jamin isn't sure that description is entirely accurate.

"Sometimes," he says. "Actually I don't think I know what that means.

"Sometimes they are crazy, sometimes chill."

He says a better way to describe their shows would be as a "fun and loud party".

The Orrall brothers formed the band while still in high school, and Hypnotic Nights is the fourth album they have made in the 10 years since then. However, it is the first they have made with a major label; the previous albums were all do-it-yourself jobs released on the band's own label.

It is also the first album on which they have brought someone else in as a co-producer - Dan Auerbach, the guitarist and vocalist for The Black Keys.

They knocked out Hypnotic Nights in just seven days- a pretty minimalist approach.

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