Album Reviews

MUSIC AS THERAPY: Jeff the Brotherhood Releases “Magick Songs”

I am not a particularly religious person, and I mostly shun the idea of an all knowing deity, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other forces at work. The longer I am on this planet, the more I believe there’s a hidden cosmic element that helps guide us through time and space. In addition to this element, I very much believe in the complementary forces of yin and yang.

All of these forces impact you differently based on your immediate current reality, where you place yourself in the yin yang sphere at that moment of time (yes, a conscious choice), the influences you draw upon from your past (and the light or darkness from those experiences), and your outlook on an immediate path forward.

Music as Therapy

After a particularly trying season, which saw a swirl of activity burgeoned by a complete lack of time taken for this introvert to recharge, I sat down with a friend for an afternoon of vinyl records. It had been a plan in the works the two months we had known each other: she would come over, we would put two pillows on the floor, throw a record on the turntable, and lay on our backs, staring at the ceiling.

I chose the newly released Magick Songs by Jeff the Brotherhood to kick the listening session into gear.

Jeff the Brotherhood Vinyl

For the thirty minutes or so of the A and B side of the first record, an intense calm washed over me. The turmoil that had been somewhat unknowingly buzzing in my subconscious slowly surfaced then drifted away. My eyes were closed, my hands clasped together atop my chest, my breathing slow and steady.

Peace.

It was the beginning of a self-inflicted dive down a rabbit hole of self-exploration and personal analysis. End goal: greater self-awareness.

Another Dive into Magick Songs by Jeff the Brotherhood

Today is the first time I have revisited this album in full since that quite transcendental experience. And, as “Focus on the Magick” finds its conclusion and the cohesiveness returns at the beginning of “Camel Swallowed Whole”, I feel myself getting a little emotional.

Jeff the Brotherhood Magick Songs

The perfection in every note is causing me to choke up; the memory of the cosmic elements that brought me to this album on that particular sunny Monday afternoon and helped draw me out from a crashing mountain of exhaustion is producing a similar peacefulness–albeit less monumental.

Magick Songs is so fundamentally different from anything else in the repertoire of Jeff the Brotherhood that you essentially have to let it stand on its own. It’s a borderline different band entirely. Jeff the Brotherhood employs elements of psychedelic rock, of course, as is their MO. You can definitely hear hints of space rock, an influence they selectively draw upon (think a more mellow Global Chakra Rhythms). But there are also traces of deep prog and jazz that haven’t been heard before.

Jeff the Brotherhood Vinyl

Select songs, like “Singing Garden” and “Relish”, act almost as interludes, strictly instrumental, mellow, and melodic. Close your eyes and you’ll be whisked into a meditative state and transported through the universe, hanging there suspended in a peaceful darkness.

Now, I love Jeff the Brotherhood, but Magick Songs is something else entirely. Despite lacking many of those catchy hooks from past songs like “Black Cherry Pie”, “Heavy Days”, or even “Hey Friend”, it holds even more power than previous releases simply for its ability to elevate you to another plane of existence. Don’t get me wrong though, catchy hooks do exist here, peppered through songs like “Camel Swallowed Whole”, “Parachute” and, to an extent, “Mother”.

Yet I keep circling back to that Monday. The overarching experience, the intense wave of calm that washed over me…it’s all something I will remember for a very long time to come.

Never have I had such a potently powerful musical experience!

Magick Songs can be found on Jeff the Brotherhood’s longtime label Infinity Cat Recordings.

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