Review Summary: Maserati further explore the electronic fields.
On their latest album, VII
, Maserati further explore the electronic path they have taken with their previous offering and last with the late drummer Jerry Fuchs, Pyramid Of The Sun
. No doubt Fuchs left a big gap in the band's sound, as he pretty much led the other instruments with his tight, energetic drumming. Still, new member, Mike Albanese, does a great job here behind the drum kit, even if the things have changed around a bit.
While on Pyramid Of The Sun
all the synths complemented the spacey, effects laden guitars, on Maserati VII
is the other way round. It would be easy to dismiss this record as vintage synth rock on a first listen, as VII
sits at the crossroads between dance and rock music, however there's more to it than it seems, as the band beautifully blends genres into a really interesting, cohesive effort. Most of the post-rock leanings have been left behind, so each track is now centered around its own beat and there are more '80s sequenced electronics providing the foundation over which Coley Dennis and Matt Cherry add the guitar layers that help giving a stronger psychedelic dance feel to the tracks. Ranging from the aggressive "The Eliminator", to the funky "San Angeles", as well as the psy trance influenced "Solar Exodus", the band manages to create an extremely tight record, while still maintaining an experimental vibe.
One track that sums up the album really well is centerpiece "Abracadabracab". Clocking in at almost 11 minutes the track has a strong '80s influence and it could have very well been featured as a soundtrack to any action movie from that era. The vintage synths are really enjoyable and when the guitar layers come in they give a whole new feel to the song. Opener "San Angeles" and closer "San Tropea" offer more memorable moments, the former sporting a funky bass line and delayed guitars that mimic the sequenced synthesizers, wrapping around them really nice. The latter starts slowly, with only a drum beat and ethereal soundscapes, before bursting into a great, less distorted, dynamic dancey tune.
Unfortunately, even if the album is really nice and immediate, sometimes it feels a bit flat. There isn't much diversity to be found (as the only song that differs from the whole album formula is "Earth-Like", which harkens back to their harder sound, featuring live drums and more powerful guitars) and after more listens there's a big chance the listener will grow tired of Maserati VII
. However, this flaw shouldn't stop anyone from checking it out, because it's nice to see how the band brought back the rather outdated synth sounds and tangle them with modern technology. With this direction taken, the fans can expect a lot from Maserati, as this is a transitional record and if they can add more diversity next time, no doubt they can create an excellent album.