Oh, sure, there are a lot of bluesy rock duos out there. There's everything from the well-known opposing-colored Keys and Stripes to lesser-known pioneer pairs from the past, like Flat Duo Jets, to up-and-comers like Agent Ribbons, who add ruffled Victorian drama to the simple mix. Each band essentially relies on a potent concoction of heavy riffs and deep drums, harnessed with careful manipulation of dynamics and empty space, to fry just the right synapses and make up for lack of bass. Nashville's JEFF the Brotherhood, on the other hand, leans back and gets comfy inside distorted pop grooves, as opposed to leaning hard on tension and release. JEFF the Brotherhood literally consists of brother-pair Jake and Jamin Orrall. Who exactly the JEFF of their band name refers to — either a long-lost third bro or some sort of Voltron-style power entity when the guys combine forces — is beside the point. The stoned bravado of the band's swaggering rock — pitched somewhere between Weezer and Thin Lizzy but with way fewer guitar strings (Jake rocks a minimal three-string ax) — is on full display on its latest, We Are the Champions, which boasts slack-jawed rippers like "Shredder" and "Bummer." But for all the hang-loose hand gestures, nothing about the band's sound feels tossed-off. In fact, tunes like "Hey Friend" (which has strangely pointed lyrics about awkward family stuff sewn inside kaleidoscopic vamping) show off the band's seasoned songwriting ability, the same skills they demonstrated when teaming up with Jack White and Insane Clown Posse for that Mozart cover. Really.
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