MASERATI - Maserati VII
Maserati’s last album Pyramid Of The Sun in late 2010 was a very sad affair. Although the drum tracks had been recorded by the late Jerry Fuchs who had a fatal tragic accident in 2009, the album was released posthumously one year later. Their sound was more electronic than in the past, courtesy of the production by Zombi’s Steve Moore, but despite the circumstances, it was nevertheless a thoroughly entertaining piece of music.
The question since then has been how Maserati would sound with a new drummer, as the charismatic Fuchs had always had a major impact on the band’s output. To make a long story short, Mike Albanese (Cinemechanica) does a really good job too, and with Steve Moore once again mixing and adding synth parts, the sound of Maserati VII isn’t that different from its predecessor. I only wonder about the song title… This is not yet the band’s seventh longplayer, but they have released altogether already quite a few more than just seven records.
Maserati VII clocks in at fifty-four minutes, with only nine songs, so it’s good to see that they haven’t given up on their expansive material yet. It would be too easy to dismiss Maserati as just another post rock band, as these veterans whose first album came out in the early days of the millennium have always had a more dynamic approach to their sound that you run-of-the-mill post rock band. There is for instance a very strong psychedelic component, mixed with deep influences from Seventies electronic kraut rock (Kraftwerk, Neu!), and even the occasional progressive moment can be made out.
Starting with San Angeles, it is clear from the outset that Maserati aren’t afraid at all of electronic elements. The opener begins with a quick sequencer rhythm before the guitars join sometime after the first minute. There is a definite sense of build-up, but unlike your typical post rock band that meanders in quiescence before erupting in a final crescendo, Maserati are acting more focused by allowing guitar layers to build upon electronic foundations. The following Martin Rev, named after the seminal instrumentalist of Suicide, comes with an even more electronic outlook and a definitive Teutonic touch. Its slightly longer running time of eight minutes gives it plenty of time to unveil its magic. The Eliminator is a shorter and much more dynamic track, segueing smoothly into its krauty electronic afterthought Flashback. Then it’s time for the centre piece, Abracadabracab, with ten and a half minutes the album’s longest, and also best track. The title reminds of course of the old Genesis classic Abacab, from the era when they were merging their prog sound into a more catchy sound. The drums even show occasional parallels to Phil Collins’ playing, and even though my personal Genesis phase has ended after The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, I still get a huge kick out of this expansive piece of proggy post psyche kraut rock. The last portion of Maserati VII more or less reprises what came before. Solar Exodus has a very krauty ambient feeling in the vein of Tangerine Dream, and even surprises with some truly nice vocoder parts, while the following Lunar Drift is an entirely synthetic piece reminiscent more of Zombi than of the band itself. Earth-Like is another rocking, straightforward song, before the album concludes with San Tropea, a track basically typical for Maserati’s sound since 2010.
It may be so that Jerry Fuchs’ passionate stage personal can never be really replaced, but from a musical perspective, Maserati are still a band in fast evolution and horrified of creative standstill. The band may be less rocking than in their earlier days, but I actually find myself liking their new, more electronic sound better than I would have anticipated. I am already looking forward to seeing this incredible instrumental rock band live soon again.