While I count myself as a fan of Jeff the Brotherhood, I wouldn’t put myself in the groupings of hardcore fans that gobble up everything they do. I’ve always dug into every album when it was released and never found myself for lack of enjoyment. Furthermore, I’ve seen them live on a number of occasions and always appreciated the show they put on. I don’t have all the b-sides or the exclusive releases but I’m familiar with their work.
When Magick Songs was announced I was pleasantly surprised at the direction they were taking. The album is much more subdued and delicate that most of their previous works. Granted, Global Chakra Rhythms also pursues a similar path but that was released in 2015 and I assumed, in part, it was done as part of some backlash to their Warner Bros deal to not churn out another clone of Wasted on the Dream. But my initial shock and all of my conspiracy theories are an oversimplifying of the band that result in expectations that don’t give them near enough credit for their diversity.
The band has always explored long form expressions and included plenty of moments of quiet amongst their loud. Magick Songs nods to “Black Cherry Pie” from the aforementioned Wasted on the Dream, “Health and Strength” from 2011’s We Are the Champions and maybe even as far back as “Pleasure Center” from 2009’s Heavy Days. However, even with that experience in mind, it’s an altogether unique album of songs due to the instrumentation and style of pacing they implement. It’s also an aural journey that descends into darkness as the album takes a turn towards the ominous once “The Mother” and “Magick Man” kick in.
On the whole, this is the JEFF the Brotherhood I personally prefer. They’ve got a knack for writing fuzzy pop songs that are impossible to deny but when they let themselves create more conceptually challenging albums I’m smitten. Fingers crossed that every new album from them from now until eternity goes somewhere new.