Maserati is a four piece guitar band hailing from Athens, Georgia; an American town most famous in the music world for spawning major rock bands like R.E.M. and the B-52s. Formed in 2000, their sound can be described as instrumental post-rock with psychedelic influences.
Maserati VII is actually Maserati’s fourth album and not their seventh, as the album’s title would have you think – their fifth, if you count the self-released and long out of print 37:29:24. But you can’t expect a band that comes up with song titles such as ‘Abracadabracab’ and ‘Being a President is Like Riding a Tiger’ to take themselves, and trifle matters such as naming an album, too seriously.
Maserati’s early albums echoed the ghost of Pink Floyd and on their previous effort, Pyramid of the Sun, the frequent use of electronic beats tilted their sound towards the dance floors. However, they seem to have toned down on both these efforts on Maserati VII.
Album opener ‘San Angeles’ will get feet moving and booties shaking, but the rest of the album is decidedly more post-rock oriented. The influences of Pink Floyd only really make a grand appearance on psychedelic tune ‘Lunar Drift’, with its spooky synths and echoing bass line.
The main influence on this album seems to be the eighties. ‘Earth-Like’ is Maserati pretending to be U2 pretending to play hard rock. The band goes old school sci-fi on ‘Abracadabracab’, where the main theme is reminiscent of the theme from the eighties hit show, Knight Rider. KITT is not exactly a Maserati, but the more than ten minute long track certainly conjures up images of speeding a car through long stretches of desert wasteland.
‘The Eliminator’ takes the listener back to the eighties again, as the repetitive electronic beat that is used sounds a lot like the 8-bit sounds that were the backdrop for many early eighties video games. Imagine the aforementioned desert wasteland turning 8-bit coloured.
The eighties also dominate in the strummed intro to ‘Martin Rev’, evoking memories of Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’. You’d almost think the guys of Maserati had wished they were making music a few decades ago.
Where many post-rock bands choose to use spoken word samples to spice up their instrumental compositions, Maserati has mostly shunned that practice. A vocoder pops up in ‘Solar Exodus’, but that’s as close as the guitar quartet comes to the use of vocals on Maserati VII. And again, how very eighties of them to use a vocoder.
Having spent the last few albums trying to define their sound, exploring dance and the far corners of psychedelica, Maserati seem to have tied those two influences together into their own sound on Maserati VII. The eighties reign supreme, but that decade has been fashionable for long enough now to be credible again in the semi-intellectual world of post-rock music.