The edges of Jersey City-based trio Cyclone Static’s debut full-length, “From Scratch,” for the nurturing Mint 400 indie are sharp and very well-crafted in the tradition of Husker Du, The Pixies and Nirvana. They will celebrate its release on Feb. 7 at FM Bar in Jersey City. PHOTO BY SUMNER DILWORTH
Unlike a lot of today’s punk rock bands, who rely on something other than songwriting to convey emotion, the Jersey City trio Cyclone Static maintain that edge while delivering a great deal of song craft in the tradition of Hüsker Du, The Pixies and Nirvana on their Mint 400 Records debut LP, “From Scratch.” The 10-song effort also digs deep into the still-flourishing well of ‘60s garage rock, especially that which was chronicled on “Nuggets,” Jersey rock royalty Lenny Kaye’s seminal 1972 collection.
The sharply polished stash of angst-filled pop opens with my favorite, “Walk This Line,” which seems as if Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash got really fucked up one night in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven and sent down this tough-sounding, yet intelligent tune to Cyclone Static. The title track follows with a tube-smashing punk-rock look at time management.
Fans of Del Shannon will enjoy the energetic “Runaway” as much as fans of Social Distortion. The down ‘n’ dirty ditty owes a nod to both.
The crunching strut of “Company Man” has all the balls that Jet wishes they had. The same can be said for the sweltering swagger of “Everlasting Glow,” especially the garage rocker’s fantastic opening drum roll.
Next up is “Circles,” which, of all the songs on “From Scratch,” best exemplifies the influence of Husker Du, The Pixies and Nirvana within the same track. The rhythms of drummer Jonathan LeVine and bassist Danny Patierno recall the first two, while, like much of the album, the guitar playing, vocals and songwriting of James Salerno recall Nirvana’s Cobain.
“Circles” is followed by the spooky metal-edged “Sacred Island,” which is like a dark Scorsese movie with an anti-hero teetering on the brink. In this case, he laments a beloved scene no longer recognizable in the wake of gentrification.
The fuzzy Nirvanaesque “Ordinary Days,” the epic “Too Many Roads” and the closing stomp of “Unstoppable” finish out this monster record, which deservedly will take Cyclone Static far. The best part? The band are even better live, so don’t miss them.
They’ll celebrate the release of “From Scratch” with a dance party on Feb. 7 at FM Bar in Jersey City. Alpha Rabbit, LeVine’s pals from his hometown of Trenton, also will perform, and DJ sets will be spun by Thursday’s Geoff Rickly, as well as DJ Appetite. The event is hosted by Jonathan LeVine Projects, the drummer’s world-renowned art gallery in Jersey City. Free CDs of the album will be given to the first 50 patrons.
Bob Makin is the reporter for www.MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And like Makin Waves at www.facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.