The Coffis Brothers’ fourth album, In The Cuts, starts with the anthemic declaration we wanted to hear. You know, it’s the kind that makes you pause the song, unplug your headphones, switch that restored-vintage-stereo input to aux, and crank the volume knob as the garage door opens to that springtime sunlight. The steady pulse of the bass, familiar yet nuanced vocal melody, tight harmonies, crisp guitars, call-and-response belting chorus at the end, and frisky drum fills elicit the appreciative nods of your neighbors across the street. They inquire and you say it’s the new Coffis Brothers’ album. “Rad,” they reply–pretty much summing up the remainder of this review.
In The Cuts is humble in presentation but humbling for musically-inclined peers–objectively enjoyable for all listeners. Polished, intricate, and, most importantly, emotionally raw, these songs are a masterclass in technical skill, recording, and songwriting. In true Coffis Brothers style, they reveal their talent not through showboating and peacockery, but through choice and style–or, simply put: craft. Essentially, the album is pure unadulterated rock-n-roll and the perfect counterargument to anyone who posits the old chestnut: It isn’t like it used to be.
Each song glides seamlessly into the next. “In My Imagination” channels the nostalgia of California-bred living with rich harmony texturing and smart chord changes. Take Me offers a patient country-rock blues verse before a chorus that has a catchy quality that you know will lead to someone down the line loudly claiming they know this song even though they don’t. “Right Love” is a classic rock ballad song with impassioned singing fit for any living room suffused in the evening light. This song is followed by the midnight motorcycle ride of “Play it Loud.” Where many albums will leave you with a pensive, reflective number, “Bye Bye Susie” is a classic roots strut that goes as far as echoing the Everly Brothers at the end, announcing their intentions. These are just a few songs from this impressive twelve-song catalog.
What one can really appreciate is the way in which the Coffis Brothers blend perfectly while showcasing each instrument at once. Nothing hides in their music. It leads to a complex musical conversation between instruments and voice that bond together over the same goal: the quality of the band. There is a comfort and communion between them that suggests a brotherhood extending beyond the blood-ties of Jamie and Kellen Coffis.
That notion was noticed and confirmed by California musical legend and stalwart Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips who produced the album. Recorded at 25th Street Recordings in Oakland, CA over the course of 2019, what came to fruition through the process was a well-guided and thoughtful exhibition of their sound.