JEFF the Brotherhood -Wasted on the Dream (ALBUM REVIEW)

[rating=4.00]

jeffbrotherhoodWasted on the Dream is an ode to a lost time period: a wistful love-letter to some bygone era, or perhaps simply an imaginary creation of JEFF the Brotherhood, the songwriting duo that cultivated it. In any instance the thesis is, for the most part, a sham: an alternate timeline where bad mustaches, muscle cars and marijuana pipe-dreams cohabitate with the modern world.

From its opening track “Voyage Into Dreams” the album invites its listener to abandon too much seriousness and embark upon a “voyage” bereft of over-thinking. The song cycle opens promisingly enough, with heavy guitar riffs and backing female vocals that emphasis the tongue-in-cheek nature of the venture.

The album shows its hand, however, with a flaccid second track (“Black Cherry Pie”) in which the Orrall brothers – Jake and Jamin, who make up the titular Brotherhood – employ the (dated-sounding and out-of-place) flute prowess of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. It is painfully obvious from the arrangement of this song that JEFF the Brotherhood takes its thesis of hard partying and solid buddies bud to its eventual and vapid conclusion; “Marijuana make me want to take off all my clothes,” the third track announces, and that is an apex of the songwriting on Wasted on the Dream.

This album marks the eighth full-length album by JEFF the Brotherhood, but it does little or nothing to showcase any progress in the songwriting department. Wasted on the Dream is all over the place – not necessarily stoner rock, nor is it honest metal, the album often rides the line of pop punk. Unfortunately the songs don’t succeed in any of these arenas – the Black Sabbath-inspired solos of “Melting Place” meander without a destination; the male/female vocals of “In My Dreams” begin off-kilter and never achieve a plateau.

To discuss the lyrical content of the album would be to put more thought than went into writing the tunes that make up its tracklist. “Coat Check Girl” is the most earnest song that the album churns out, its fair-to-middling quality rooted in the honesty of its subject matter. It’s the unusual song not revolving around “pouring out a shot” and “doing fine” (the deep thoughts evident on “Karaoke, TN”), which is the absolute least that the brothers can do in writing about the hard work of the girl working the coat room of your local venue.

Even in the alt-rock heyday of the 1990s, this album would be written off as an utter underachievement. It is a glorification of beer-guzzling and bad haircuts in the place of good songwriting and a statement to make. The posturing never achieves its purpose here; the grungy guitar solos are no more meaningful than the pop fluff of Top 40 lyricism, and the album’s wordplay itself is laughably bad. Even at your local muscle car showcase, Wasted on the Dream would be booed off the boombox and drained into the oil slick.

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