Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Album Review: Maserati - Maserati VII

Maserati VII
Rating: Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It

With the death of drummer Jerry Fuchs in 2009, there was a hole left in the instrumental driven band Maserati that was almost too big to fill. Fuchs was key in taking Maserati from humble post-rock beginnings into a more dance focused collective. While new drummer Mike Albanese is no Fuchs, he still handles himself capably on the traditional kit along with subtle use of drum machines and programming. With Maserati VII there is no stylistic leap or 180 degree shift in sound, it is just a solid collection of building and morphing dance-rock tracks that slowly insinuate themselves with you until they feel like old friends.

When a band sort of follows the same template for each track, it usually irritates me to no end and, at first, this record really bugged me as each song starts with rumbles of electronics, leading into an initial beat pattern, and slowly and methodically morphing over the run-time into something distinct and separate. But over several listens the subtleties begin to come out, and just the amazing musicianship of the band appears, dispelling any sort of qualms I had initially. At the root of things, Maserati VII just wants you to get your groove on, and it is way more than merely capable at doing so.

Tracks like the 10 minute "Abracadabracab" lock into a motorik groove as grumbling guitars crash over swells of synths and burbling electronics.

"San Tropea" climbs out of a fog of atmospherics into waves of chiming guitars and old school New Romantic baselines straight out of the early Duran Duran playbook.

The 80s influences are also prevalent in the throbbing basslines of banger "The Eliminator,"

and the Simple Minds-esque synth washes and art-rock basslines of "Lunar Drift,"

Drawing from the late and lamented Out Hud, "Martin Rev" creates a clash of echoing guitars over a rumbling bassline and punding drums.

While they spike things up during the furious guitar squall of "Earth-Like."

Maserati VII is simply a solid collection of dance-rock tunes that won't change the world or anything, but will get your ass dancing and will always allow you to find new, subtle elements going on. Just give it a few spins to let it get under your skin. Trust me, it will.

Rating Scale:

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top releases of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and piques one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not great; could have either been polished, trimmed, or re-thought.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

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