JESUS CHRYSLER – Bio
Jesus Chrysler. The hottest band in the land…named Jesus Chrysler. The name immediately invokes a reaction. You may think the band is Christian, Satanic, offensive or just harmless and a clever play on words. I fall in the latter. Besides, WWJD – What Would Jesus Drive? He’s not rocking a Kia.
Jesus Chrysler has a new sister album – or second side – to their last release Make Bold Statements… called …Deny It All Later. It’s available where all fine records, tapes and CDs are sold. Which is nowhere. You’re going to have to download it on iTunes or stream it on Spotify.
So who is or what is Jesus Chrysler? Based in St. Paul, Jesus Chrysler is made up men that own Dumber and Dumber suits, and were born with one name like Prince, Bjork, and Coolio. They are a mix of classic rock influences like Sabbath, Motorhead, KISS, Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity but not in a carbon copy way like Greta Van Fleet does Zep. It sounds fresh. The easiest way to describe their sound is “fun.” The lyrics are extremely current, which is odd as the majority of the album was written around 2010.
Duffy – Drums
Shores – Bass
Treble – Lead Guitar
Bakko – Lead Vocals, Guitar
You may recognize the last name on the list as the co-host of the comedy/rock talk show Cobras & Fire (another brilliant name). And who is the other co-host of that podcast? This guy. Yes, in a momentary lapse of reason, I requested to review (read: criticize) Bakko‘s creativity. His passion project. This can only end badly.
While I love giving friends and people I barely know unsolicited advice, I have never done so on a global platform. If anyone has read my past reviews, I do not hold back; doing so would invalidate my integrity as Decibel Geek’s (and the world’s) top rock journalist.
I’m a picky little bitch and I have specific albums rules – commandments in the case of JC– to please me.
- Thou shall not exceed 10 tracks.
- Thou shall not exceed 45-50 minutes.
- Thou shall sequence like a boss.
- Thou shall not have fadeouts, or use sparingly.
So, with those rules in place, let’s see if Jesus Chrysler survives. For a full track-by-track and endless ball busting, listen to this Cobras & Fire ep HERE.
“D.D.O.A. (Dumbing Down of America)” has a riff I describe as the bastard child of Sabbath’s “Supernaut” and “Day Tripper“. You immediately raise the horns and keep them up the entire song, whether on the subway, at a board meeting or at church. Even though this was written damn near a decade ago, it’s even more Trump-tastic today.
I’m guessing there is a fifth member playing keyboards off stage named Nostradamus because “Up to Me” predicts the tale of Michael, a 30-year-old deadbeat whose parents had to sue to evict them from their home. It’s a fun song and the lyrics and vibe reminds me of an Ugly Kid Joe track like “Pan Handling Prince.” That’s a compliment.
“Spit on Me” has the catchiest chorus on the album and could only be written after watching endless hours of vintage porn on a couch made exclusively of Coors Lite with fellow bandmates. It is overflowing with riffs, melody and misogyny. In other words, brilliant! This is the KISS track on the album. I look forward to Bakko doing a reading of the lyrics with a jazz bass line in the background, like Def Poetry Jam on a future show. Warning: If you sing any of part of this song at work, you will be fired immediately without severance.
“Is that Scott Baio?” I wasn’t expecting the star of Charles in Charge to be name checked on …Deny It All Later. The song “Thin” is not about jogging to lose some pounds (pronounced “Yogging” – soft “J”), but about those whose acts are wearing thin. It has a Motorhead groove and a false ending which flips the tempo and the solo takes it to the next level. 3 minutes of brilliance.
“ZGusto” – Holy Balls. What a closer! This is a protest-themed scorcher with guitars galore, a Hetfield-ish vocal and the chorus, “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.”
So here is my summary using my commandments as structure. First and foremost, these are well written songs with some big standouts. This is a strong album. The songs that didn’t hit with me have more to do with the limits of the production, not the playing or structure. So a bit about the players. Bakko’s vocals are chock full of personality and Treble’s solos are best described as slop guitar like Slash – not precision playing but soulful and effective. The best example of this is “ZGusto.” And don’t sleep on the rhythm section. Duffy has a unique drumming style with some insanely tight fills and Shores is not locked into the drums but is very melodic in the vein of Paul Mccartney or Gene Simmons.
It’s 60 minutes long and could be stronger with a bit of self editing with 9 or 10 vs. 12 tracks. Some of the greatest albums are just 8 tracks. Think Sabbath and Metallica’s early albums. When the last few seconds of the last track ring out leave me wanting more.
As far as sequencing, I would’ve opened the album with the monster riff of “D.D.O.A.” going into “Thin” and “Up to Me” for a 1-2-3 punch instead of opening with “Evil Side of Me.” It’s a bit of a slow burn and would be more effective later in the album.
Quick rant. I’ve never understood repeating chorus fadeouts. End the fucking song, unless you plan on slowly turning down the volume when playing it live. Which nobody has done ever. Fadeouts are a lazy man’s game. There are no fadeouts that I can recall on …Deny It All Later, which gets Jesus Chrysler bonus points!
My favorite tracks are:
“Swim the Witch“, “Up to Me“, “Now it Begins“, “Spit on Me“, “Thin“, “D.D.O.A.” and “ZGusto“.
In conclusion, this review contains my actual thoughts. I’m not praising an album that my co-host made just to keep him happy. I’m thrilled it doesn’t suck.
Loose Soapbox: Being passionate about music is one thing, learning how to then play an instrument, starting a band AND keeping it together for any length of time is a huge commitment. Unless everyone goes balls deep by quitting their day job and focusing only on the band, there is almost zero chance it will be a success. You may begin with visions of world domination but if that doesn’t happen you continue for one thing: THE MUSIC.
It’s difficult for Bakko and I to find time to just sit behind a microphone and record a podcast. With Jesus Chrysler, there are four schedules to coordinate and actual writing, planning and production all worked around family and jobs. So the fact this album exists is a testament to all involved and is more proof that rock’s not dead. I raise a $1 Applebee’s Long Island Ice Tea to all who support rock and/or who start a band or other creative outlet as a result of their passion for music.