Jeff the Brotherhood – We Are the Champions

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Very few duos really seem to pack a punch, the last one I recall that really killed was DFA 1979, but the latest release from Jeff the Brotherhood is definitely a record that will lightheartedly kick you in the teeth.  This is a good thing, as summer needs some rock n’ roll, and that is precisely what We Are the Champions gives it listeners.   Want to have a good time, then run out the door, pick this up, and blast it as loud as you can!

Like various other bands taking this arena rock approach, namely Free Energy, you can feel the studied past of classic rock and punk flowing through the veins of the Orrall Brothers. But, what seems to put Jeff the Brotherhood far ahead of their peers is that they actually seem to be enjoying their portrayal of the sound.  “Hey Friend” spends the first half of the opening track giving you one hell of a gritty rock jam, but then it sort of breaks into something entirely different; its part Weezer, part Ramones, part arena ready rock.  It’s just plain good.

Sure, you could take a knock at the band for giving you some fairly juvenile song titles, and possibly lyrics, but occasionally, the execution matters far more than the actual thought process; such is the case on We Are the Champions.  “Cool Out’ speeds through, with a pace that would probably force Joey Ramone to think twice, but it’s got sort of a power-pop-punk feel, like early Queers albums.  Perhaps it’s the fact that the band is just a duo, forcing them to focus on their simplicity when it comes to songwriting, giving their sound something rather refreshing and clean.  “Bummer” has buzz-saw guitars and just a steady drum beat keeping time, but it’s the “whoa-ohs” and vocal harmonies that make it such a killer track. The louder the song gets, the more you just want to have fun.

But, it’s not all fast-fueled punk-ish sounding arena rock, but there are some momentary allusions to stoner-rock as well, or sludge-rock, like “Ripper.”  It just opens with this filthy jamming moment (one of the few times I like a jam), and of course it blasts off into a furious energetic blast, but the sound of the guitar definitely is filled with dirt and grime, unlike some of the cleaner sounds on earlier tracks. Really, these guys are all over the place throughout the entirety of We Are the Champions, but in an endearing fashion that makes you want to pump your fists and sing out loud.

Album highlights for me include the heavy hit “Mellow Out,” or the oddball psychedelia-hints from “Health and Strength, and definitely the closer “Wastoid Girl.”  Once you give a listen to this release from Jeff the Brotherhood, you’ll be thumbing through lyrics sheet, or pressing play over and over again, as the band has crafted an entire record full of sing-a-long hits that are sheer fun.  You’re looking for the perfect record to blast loudly while you get ready for the night? You need look no longer, as there’s nothing better today than listening to We Are the Champions.

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Download: Jeff the Brotherhood – Shredder [MP3]

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