Maserati – Pyramid of the Sun

January 01, 1970

(Temporary Residence)

 

www.temporaryresidence.com

 

Maserati’s latest begins with the stately pulse and
disembodied roar of “Who Can Find the Beast?,” layers of synths piled atop each
other until the roar morphs into a single cry of grief. It’s an opening
well-suited for an album with a pall hanging over it – the sudden death of
drummer Jerry Fuchs in 2009 nearly derailed not just the record, but Maserati’s
decade-old tenure as well. Noted for his Disco and motorik skills behind the
kit, Fuchs’ propulsive time-keeping on the two previous Maserati full-lengths –
he also drummed for !!!, The Juan MacLean, and Turing Machine, among others —
had been an integral element in the band’s turn from its Tortoise-inflected
post-rock beginnings to the more Krautrock and dance punk orientation of its
live gigs.

 

Pyramid,
though, pushes that schematic into the red with diminishing returns. Fuchs’
impressive percussion fuels each song’s rhythmic thrum, but the tempos hardly
vary and the guitar-delay overlaps here – especially on the title track — lack
the key variations that characterized much of 2007’s standout Invention for the New Season. Instead,
Maserati eschews subtle alterations in favor of droning repetition. The
high-speed “We Got the System to Fight the System” tilts fusion-y – is that Wired-era Jeff Beck on guitar? – and has
a slightly prog-metal, keyboards-heavy doppelganger in “They’ll No More Suffer
From Hunger.” (That track and the more dance-oriented, high hat-centric
“They’ll No More Suffer from Thirst” allude to Fuchs’ death while at a charity
event for underprivileged children in India.) Closing the album is the
record’s best cut, the bittersweet “Bye M’Friend, Goodbye,” the final
track written and recorded with Fuchs.

 

Where the rest of Pyramid seems in a hurry to get nowhere, the genial unfurling of this soaring
motorik/punk elegy – think Wipers and Neu! bunking up – sets up enough contrast
to highlight both ends of the spectrum as the song hurtles toward its
conclusion. With Fuchs absolutely punishing the pace, the guitars careen toward
the finishing line like NASCAR racers drafting and banging at the checkered
flag, the track wistfully fading to black. It’s one of Maserati’s most
sublime moments, and serves as both a marvelous reminder of Fuchs’s brilliance
and the rest of the record’s game but ultimately ineffective attempts at
epitaph.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Bye
M’Friend, Goodbye” “Who Can Find the Beast?” JOHN SCHACHT

 

 

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