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“We basically did Hypnotic Nights the same way we recorded all the rest of our records,” says singer/ guitarist Jake Orrall, who’s joined in the band by his brother, drummer Jamin Orrall. “We just went in and played the songs and put some cool stuff on top of it. Most of it is first takes. Dan wasn’t super worried about whether we got good takes or not. He was pretty laid back. He was just there to tell us if something sounded totally whack or if it sounded good.” Two-and-a-half years later, JEFF the Brotherhood have returned with their eighth album, Wasted On the Dream. The relatively prolonged wait for this record suggests the anticipated major label makeover has occurred. Indeed, along with guest vocals from Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and a flute solo from Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, there are tracks like ‘Karaoke, TN’ and ‘Coat Check Girl’, which outwardly embrace pop melodies and structure.


“When we signed to Warner Bros. we knew what we were getting into in terms of ‘OK, this is a career thing now, we need to make a record that they can use,’” Orrall explains. “So there was that element of ‘Let’s give them some hits.’” To be fair, the band’s predilection towards sugary melodic rock was evident as far as back 2009’s Heavy Days. “Every album gets more accessible and better sounding because we get better at writing songs and get better at playing our instruments,” Orrall says. “When we first started out I really could not play guitar, so I just made up stuff. Now I’m better at my playing my guitar and that’s why it’s more accessible. We’ve always been really into pop music and writing grunge-pop stuff.”


The Orralls’ growing technical and compositional know-how isn’t all that distinguishes Wasted on the Dream from JEFF’s earlier work. In fact, a more obvious modification is the record’s hifi , overdub-friendly production. To ensure this was a smooth transition, the brothers roped in experienced producer Joe Chiccarelli (Spoon, Alberta Cross, The Strokes). “We got a list of producers that Warner suggested and we had a list of people we were interesting in working with,” Orrall explains.


“We listened to some examples of their work and then we just called them up out of the blue. A lot of working with a producer is, ‘Do you get along with this person? Can you hang out with them?’ It was really apparent very quickly that he was the right guy for the job.” Building a rapport with Chiccarelli might’ve been easy, but making a premium, high fidelity rock record was no walk in the park. “He pushed us pretty hard,” Orrall says.


“That was part of it though; we knew that he was a professional, we knew going into it that it was going to be hard work, but we wanted that. We wanted to make the best album we could make. “Working with Dan was very much more like working with an artist and collaborating on finding cool sounds,” he adds. “Working with Joe was not like that at all. It was like working with a professional record producer, which was great.” Fortunately, the laborious recording process hasn’t sucked the life out of the record. JEFF the Brotherhood are an incredibly entertaining live act and Wasted on the Dream still conveys a sense of the pair’s onstage animation. This time around, however, the band’s personnel was expanded to include bass player Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes, The Dead Weather).



“He’s a good buddy of ours,” Orrall says. “We knew we wanted to have bass on this album for the first time and he’s just an unbelievable bass player.” In spite of the high-grade production, the root elements of each song were tracked live. “Before recording, we went to a practice space and we worked for ten days, just playing choruses over and over and trying out different drum beats and different arrangements of stuff,” Orrall says.


“The four of us went in – me and Jamin, Jack and Joe – and really, really, really worked on the arrangements and performance and then we went into the studio and got good takes of the full band live. Then I put vocals on it and we went from there.” All of this actually happened in the early months of 2014. Then, after various delays, the band were dropped from the Warner Bros roster a mere two weeks out from the record’s scheduled release. They’ve now shifted back to the land of independence, but that doesn’t mean there’s an aesthetic devolution on the horizon. “I think the next one will definitely have a different attitude,” Orrall says. “There won’t be as much pressure to do a single and stuff like that. We knew that our long term hardcore fans might be a little bit weirded out by some of the stuff on Wasted On the Dream, but you’ve got to keep growing. You can’t just keep doing the same thing forever.”  


Wasted On The Dream is out now via Dine Alone / Cooking Vinyl Australia. For more information visit