Jesus Rehab. Lasagna. Manimals. The Zoo At Night.

There are a number of guitar and drum duos in Seattle, and though some have garnered more acclaim than others, I put forth The Jesus Rehab as one of the best. You see, the problem I have with many of these duos is the lack of bass, like there’s a bass-clef-shaped hole in the sound, like the bass player forgot to show up. You might think that’s easy for me to say since I play bass, but upon hearing TJR, the evidence is there that it can be done without that hole.

I’ve seen them a number of times and hearing them rip through songs of theirs like “Carry You” confirms every time I am right. There’s no bass, but the sound is full. It tilts and swells. It’s filling, like a hearty helping of lasagna. Jared Cortese runs his Les Paul through both a guitar amp and a bass amp, adds different eq to each, a few effects, and voila, a rich full sound. It’s the drummer, too, though. His younger brother, Dominic, plays rhythms and grooves, but he also fills out spaces where they need to be. They’re aware that there is no bass, and though they don’t fill the space in the same way a bass player would, they fill it nonetheless. And there’s Jared singing over a G, an E, a D, “I want to carry you. I want to CAR-RY you.” He is. They are. At shows, people always move to the front to dance and shake their bodies, and by the last chorus of the song, the audience is singing along with hands in the air. “I want to carry you. I want to CAR-RY you.” And they are. Band lifts audience. Audience lifts band.

And with tone enough to eat. Another bass player in town agrees. Geoff B. Gibbs of Julia Massey and the Five-Finger Discount had this to say when asked about some of his favorite bands in Seattle:

“Definitely, The Jesus Rehab. Since I’m a bass player, you may think this is odd, or you might think it’s just because I know Dom and Jared personally, and that surely is why I originally learned of the band, but the core of my love for TJR is that there is no other two piece that sounds like this. Most two pieces of guitar/drums are roots-rocky-blues-screamin-whitestripesblackkeystonecolored, and don’t get me wrong, I love that sound, but TJR is like a 90’s power grunge band with a little jazz thrown in. It’s a sound all it’s own. They’re manimals.”

The Jesus Rehab just released The Zoo At Night from which this gem called “Mind Readers” emanates. It’s sing-along good. It rocks and bounces and lingers in the imagination. “Mind readers in the center of our town, Mind readers living under the ground…We’re all slaves to the Lizard King…we’re all slaves to the, we’re all slaves to the, we’re all slaves to the Lizard King.” It makes me want to put down my bass and pick up the guitar to chunk along, and that’s saying something.

The Jesus Rehab will be playing at The Tractor next Thursday February 27 with the Hoots Hoots, Friends and Family, and Julia Massey and the FFD. Doors at 8:00. $6.00 tickets. Manny’s and lasagna in abundance.

About davemusic

Dave O'Leary (davemusic) is a writer and musician living in Seattle. Horse Bite, his first novel, was published in October 2011. His second novel, The Music Book, a story inspired by the music he's played, witnessed, and written about here in Seattle, will be published this fall by Seattle-based publisher, Booktrope.