Review Summary: Although it is an album born from tragedy, Pyramid of the Sun is easily one of this years most wholly intriguing releases.
After the tragic death of their second drummer, Jerry Fuchs, instrumental rock outfit Maserati, entered the studio to honor their deceased friend and fellow band mate. Extra time and attention was paid to their latest release, Pyramid of the Sun
, and it truly shows, as the band has put out one of this years most intriguing albums, encompassing a myriad of sounds and influences, making not only for a wonderful epitaph, but a purely fascinating record.
What makes Pyramid of the Sun
so downright great is its incredible sense of freshness and originality. While vocals are not to be found on the album, it’s difficult to describe Maserati as post-rock, instead, the band sounds like a convergence of instrumental rock, psychedelic, and electronica. Often times, this odd concoction is a hell of a lot of fun, with everything sounding so spacey yet so contained. This is further bolstered by a really interesting atmosphere.
Yet for all of its spacey and airy ambiance, Pyramid of the Sun
is pretty damn funky. The bass is utilized fairly heavily, and the drums are a driving force that keeps the entire affair on track. This album features Fuchs last recordings, and while he probably won’t be remembered as a percussion virtuoso, his keen sense of the mood of the music is rather impressive. It’s safe to say the wonderful pace of the album is due to his playing, and each track receives an indelible amount of assistance because of this. Yet the guitarists as well should be accredited to the album’s success, as they do some really interesting things with sound and texture, and keep the funky and psychedelic feeling pervasive throughout. All of this is shined to brilliant sheen with some rather impressive production and engineering. Added to that, there is some great electronica overtones that add just a little bit of character to an album that is already brimming with personality.
But for all that Pyramid of the Sun
does right, it is not without its flaws. Some selections find the band dragging their feet a bit, meandering about as some sections seemingly go nowhere. While I appreciate that as an instrumental band, Maserati refrain from falling into the tired formula of “build up, the climax,” songs like “Ruins” would have been much more interesting with a few dynamic changes. And while this is a minor complaint, it happens quite often, and as a whole, the album loses consistency.
Regardless of its missteps, Pyramid of the Sun
is an incredibly enjoyable album. It’s a fun, exciting, and refreshing album that offers up a lot of intrigue, with enough here to please a wide range of people. With a great instrumental rock sound, and a smooth psychedelic veneer, Pyramid of the Sun
is wholly original, and easily one of the coolest
albums this year.