Maserati are a fascinating hybrid. They play instrumental hard rock in the vein of bands like Explosions in the Sky and Trans Am, but with frequent stops on the dance floor courtesy of Giorgio Moroder-style synthesizers and motorik drum beats. There are elements of Krautrock hidden away in the multiple layers working here, but frequently they sound like nothing less than a deep cut from the American Gigolo soundtrack.
This is a good thing. Hard rock bands frequently improve their hit ratio with the liberal addition of hip swaying beats. In fact, a good argument can be made that the primary distinction between “Hard Rock” and “Heavy Metal” are those very beats. Call it the difference between Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin (or say, Metallica and Guns’n’Roses). Cuz what the boys in the pit don’t get the girls understand. Maserati understands this too. There is a swagger to these songs that fits hand in glove with their relentless forward momentum and incrementally building arrangements. And the constant shifting and reshuffling frequently fills the role that typically filled by vocal melodies.
Pyramid of the Sun is the band’s third full-length release and their first since drummer Jerry Fuchs died in a tragic accident last year (he fell down an open elevator shaft during a party in Brooklyn, NY). The band has referred to the record as a tribute to Fuchs (most of the drumming is his) and I doubt it’s a coincidence that “Bye M’Friend, Goodbye” is the best thing on here. Closing the album with a blast of pure bliss, it builds on pulsing synths and what sound sounds like chanting monks to an explosion of melodic, intertwining riffage and crashing drums. It fades out at 6:37 but it could have gone for twice as long and I doubt I’d be bored for a second. How the band will sustain this high with new drummer Steve Moore remains to be seen, but I am anxiously waiting to see for myself when the band hits Kung Fu Necktie on November 12th. (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
Sal Cannestra is a New York City native who relocated to Philadelphia in 2006. He has been writing about rock’n’roll music since 1984 for various publications. He also plays in the bands The Gerunds (www.thegerunds.com) and The Thirteen (www.myspace.com/thethirteenphilly)
Check out Sal’s blog here: http://thesecretchild.blogspot.com/