Finally having the good sense to realize that all those sappy words can just get in the way sometimes, a steadily growing number of instrumental emo rockers have shown up on the post-punk scene over the past few years. From the almost worldbeatish noodling of Chicago's Euphone to the math-addled beautiful minds of Collinsville's Ring, Cicada, this new subgenre postulates that maybe Van Halen would have been better off without Roth or Hagar. Add Maserati to this list of wordless wonders.
Maserati's Kindercore Records debut, The Language of Cities, finds the Athens, Georgia-based band at home playing both relaxed and intense, sometimes at the same time. Their reverbed-out riffs become hypnotic through repetition but build and tighten until the listener is completely engrossed; what seemed at first to be background music has become anything but.
Kindercore is mostly known for '60s worshipers such as the Sunshine Fix and Of Montreal, but Maserati has a definite late-'80s/early-'90s feel, with several tracks reminiscent of early Red House Painters and some calling to mind the Cure, circa "Fascination Street." The band has crafted a stellar first album, and the songs are sure to be even better live, at top volume. And although it's always a good idea to be wary of bands whose members list the brand names of their gear in the liner notes, we'll give the guys in Maserati the benefit of the doubt and assume that they're being ironic.