Critical Voices: JEFF the Brotherhood, Dig the Classics

October 2, 2014


JEFF the Brotherhood’s garage rock siblings, Jake and Jamin Orrall, with all their tattered-denim, hillbilly sex appeal and carefree demeanor, hold a special place at the top of my fangirl list. After many years of devotion to this Nashville, Tenn. duo, I am still infatuated with JTB’s simplistic, three-string guitar quintessential rock and roll. 

Now, with the release of Dig the Classics—a six track EP featuring covers of songs from bands such as the Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, and Beck—my heart palpitations have returned. 

Not to worry though, because the remedy can be found in Jake’s bewitching incantations and Jamin’s jammin’ mojo jojo drummin’. This record follows JTB’s previous release Hypnotic Nights, also co-produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. Hypnotic Nights was JTB’s move toward a more uniform aesthetic and a step away from its characteristically more experimental garage rock sound. Thankfully, the band reversed its one-time foray into the vanilla mainstream with a return to its unorthodox musical roots. That being said, this record is not about experimentation or thematic consistency. 

Instead, it’s meant to be a fun, light-hearted project through which the Orrall brothers could pay tribute to their favorite artists. 

The EP opens masterfully with the band’s cover of “Gouge Away” from the Pixies’ Doolittle, blending JTB’s grunge with the best of the Pixies’ punk rock roots. The best track is the band’s take on MBV’s “Come in Alone” from Loveless. On this record, Jake emphasizes My Bloody Valentine’s transfixing guitar riffs, but replaces Shield’s traditional lo-fi vocals with a deeper voice, resulting in a unique, almost indescribable track. 

While some die-hard fans of the artists featured on the Dig the Classics might find JTB’s take on iconic rock songs unsuccessful or lacking, this compilation successfully rebrands the icons’ songs with the Orrall brothers’ overalled sex-appeal. It just goes to show, true love never dies. 

Voice’s Choices: “Come in Alone,” “Gouge Away”


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