Cloud Nothings Go Jazz on Baldi/Gerycz Duo's Cathartic 'After Commodore Perry Service Plaza'

BY Bryon HayesPublished Oct 26, 2020

As the progenitor of the noisy, poppy, post-punk group, Cloud Nothings' Dylan Baldi doesn't immediately appear to be steeped in the American free jazz movement, but to quote an old adage, don't judge a book by its cover.

The songwriter does claim that his first paying gig involved performing jazz music for a dinner party in his native Cleveland — so really, this is nothing new for Baldi, he's just going back to his roots, allowing those subconscious urgings to stray from songcraft and let those improvisational chops loose.

All would be for naught if Baldi hadn't brought Jayson Gerycz into the Cloud Nothings fold. The drummer introduces a sense of versatility and heft to every song he performs; he is the kindling for Baldi's flint to spark a flame. 

After Commodore Perry Service Plaza is the duo's second foray into blistering free jazz, carrying on from where Blessed Repair left off. The proceeding begin on a rather subdued footing with "Hermit Thrush / Vat of Oil," Baldi's lone saxophone calling out plaintively. Gerycz eventually answers with a skittering and faint smattering of cymbals and snare hits. Then, the fire takes hold and the pair begin to wreak havoc. There are peaks and valleys, but the energy and symbiosis are strong with these two.

Where things really get feisty is in the relatively short closing piece "The Holy Retrievers (In Transit)." Gerycz fires off a series of drum salvos, to which Baldi applies heaps of wailing skronk. This is intense and definitely fit for brevity, if only to allow the players not to outpace their own endurance. This final quick-burning pool of accelerant is the perfect way to cap off an intensely cathartic record.
(American Dreams Records)

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