It’s a burning question; what would it sound like if Weezer, Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Red Hot Chili Peppers all got together, popped some sleeping tablets and washed them down with an ample helping of non-descript booze brown-paper-bag style? The answer; JEFF The Brotherhood’s 8th LP, ‘Wasted on a Dream’. This would have been the duo’s second record released via Warner Bros but Jake and Jamin Orrall were dropped by the major label, presumably the big dogs at WB heard the lacklustre offering they were due to put out and thought better of it. First and foremost, ‘Wasted on a Dream’ is a pastiche of everything that’s come before, this formulaic offering positions JEFF The Brotherhood like a covers band rattling through rock’s past with little interest in forging their own personality. Yes, the album has riffs-aplenty and given enough cheap alcohol on a Saturday night, it would slay an intoxicated audience but that’s it. Unlike other duo’s who borrow from the past but reboot it for the future, the Orrall brothers seem stuck in time warp.
It’s no lie that rock ‘n’ roll has lost its broader appeal, with dance music, hip hop and pop dominating the airwaves, and it’s easy to see why when an album such as ‘Wasted on a Dream’ lumbers up an alternative. Even the most forgiving rock fan would be turned off by the pair’s lackadaisical vocals and damped production here. Where you’d want the album to roar and sound filthy, in its place is a muddied sound that dulls the impact of an LP that could rip your face off. Even the record’s artwork looks like an outcast from the late 80’s/early 90’S but not in a retro way – in a dated way.
Sonically derivative and lyrically cliché, ‘Wasted on a Dream’ doesn’t stray too far from the predictable rock handbook, not if you ignore the flute solo from Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson on ‘Black Cherry Pie’ – a fucking flute and the mention of cherry pie, eugh! In amongst the swampy whatever-rock, themes of self-deprecation bob to the surface, “life’s shit” “I don’t want to live anymore” “blah blah blah” you get the picture. There’s no defiance here, no oomph that says “yeah life is crappy but I’m going to fight against” it’s almost like the band are ticking boxes. The inspiration behind the pair’s latest effort was, rather obviously, 90’s rock “we envisioned something similar to a lot of rock records that came out in the 90’s, back when rock records were still really big and bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana were playing arenas” states Jamin. Something’s been lost in translation here because, those iconic outfits never produced anything this bland or unoriginal and this obsession with the 90’s is getting boring.
‘Wasted on Someone’s Else’s Dream’ would be more accurate – waste of time in fact.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams