When drummer Jerry Fuchs passed away in a tragic accident in 2009, the space created in his absence was gigantic. Apart from being a friend to many and one of those man-about-town types who brings a certain life to communities, Fuchs was playing in an almost absurd amount of projects at the time of his death. One of these was Athens, Georgia-based Maserati, who had been churning out experimental instrumental rock since the early 2000s. When Fuchs signed on as drummer with Maserati in 2004, his influence shifted their sound dramatically, leading them into more psychedelic territory and amping up their songs with quicker BPMs and aggressively direct beats more akin to the unquestionable dance rhythms of Daft Punk than the more atmospheric post-rock textures they worked in beforehand. With Maserati VII, the band's first album with new drummer Mike Albanese, they follow the more heavy dance trajectory they started with more brazen albums like Pyramid of the Sun. The beat is the focal point of almost all nine of these epic songs, whether it's an organic drum kit driving along a song like bashy "Earth-Like" or motorik drum machines intertwining with live drums and sequenced electronics on the '80s-leaning "Flashback." While these songs could all fall under the blanket of dance-rock due to their snappy tempos and hooky instrumentation, guitarists Coley Dennis and Matt Cherry push the tunes into more experimental rock waters, with heavily processed leads that range from Krautrock-inspired single-note washes to more open-air riffing that takes a surprising amount of influence from the playing of U2's the Edge. Maserati VII is pleasantly lost between dance-rock fervor and spacy synth-scapes like "San Tropea." Ultimately, the album sounds more like Tangerine Dream than it does Justice, but the songs unfold and soar in ways indebted to both the patience of space rock and the immediacy of electronic party music.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas