Knowing what Maserati have been through during Pyramid of the Sun's creation makes it hard to consider the album on its musical merits alone. A year ago, they lost drummer Gerard Fuchs in an elevator-shaft accident. They were already working on Pyramid, and that gives the resulting LP a double shot of gravitas as one of Fuchs's final recordings and also a tribute to him. So it's a bummer that the record itself is largely uneventful. Its instrumental-heavy post-punk (Fuchs aptly cited disco as a key influence) focuses on cruising along grooves, and though never offputting, the material is more about competent musicianship than captivating movements or melodies. Maserati sometimes go for psychedelics but rarely consume your headspace whole, so tracks like "They'll No More Suffer from Thirst" and "Oaxaca" are docile and interchangeable. Some highlights are strewn about: the strange scrapes and quakes of "Ruins," the ominously swelling "Who Can Find the Beast?", and the poignant "Bye M'Friend, Goodbye," which makes for an excellent climax. But most of Pyramid lacks the spark a document of this importance deserves.
MASERATI + PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT | Middle East upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | November 15 at 9 pm | 18+ | $12 doors | 617.864.3278 or mideastclub.com