Indie Cred

Maserati fits right in with other music groups from Athens, Ga.

For many an independent music fan, the instrumental-rock band Maserati scores points simply due to the town in which it was born: Athens, Ga.

Unless you've been living on a desert island for the past 2 1/2 decades, you know Athens is the same Southern hotbed that has given the world such significant acts as R.E.M., The B-52s, Vic Chesnutt, Pylon, Olivia Tremor Control, Jack Logan, Neutral Milk Hotel, Widespread Panic and Man É Or Astroman?, among others.

But can Maserati live up to the automatic cred bestowed on it by the municipality of its origin? Boy howdy, does it!

Although the group's sterling debut album, The Language of Cities (released in 2002 on Kindercore), is darn-near-impossible to find, it contains some of the finest alpha-state drone-meets-melody rock 'n' roll this side of Mogwai (to which Maserati is most often compared), as well as great acts such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and My Bloody Valentine.

No, really. Maserati's got all the hypnotic rhythms, hurricane guitar textures and thundering bass of those groups, but is more artsy than Mogwai, more accessible than Godspeed and more present than the late MBV.

And if you can't find The Language of Cities, keep your eyes and ears peeled for Confines of Heat (released last month on Kindercore), an album that Maserati splits with the Florida instrumental band Mercury Program.

Patrick Schabe, associate music editor for the online journal, describes Maserati quite adequately:

"É The melodies created on The Language of Cities are sometimes sublime, sometimes driving. Maserati can play with the calm of a gray autumn sky, or with the force of a storm, and the melodies of these songs guide both of these moods. É There's almost something sexual to these songs, starting from a slow and careful movement until they swell and then burst into a long, and often chaotic climax. É The melancholy, and occasional fury, of these songs is palpable without the accoutrements of words. If you're looking for a companion to a chilly day or a dour mood, these songs will have immediate appeal. And if you're looking to throw another instrumental rock album into your collection next to Tortoise and Trans-Am, Maserati will fit right in."

To which, I can only add: "Well, yeah."

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