Melissa Auf Der Maur - Auf Der Maur
Quietly devoting all of her own time and resources to crafting out her own debut solo album, Melissa Auf Der Maur is as good example of any that hard work and determination can provide more fruitful rewards. It's hard to write a review without even a passing mention of Courtney Love, considering the former Hole frontlady has recently released her own solo album America's Sweetheart. The fact that Auf Der Maur and Love were both members of Hole, and have reportedly since gained a reputation as having a frosty relationship with each other only serves to fuel the PR 'battle' between the two.
It's interesting to note the differing directions the two have taken to get their own albums on the shelves. Courtney appears desperate for rock star attention, with drug issues, parental battles and many other detrimental public displays heavily delaying her radio-friendly grunge rock assault. Melissa, on the other hand, wisely keeps her head down and enlists many of her old friends and musical colleagues such as producer Chris Goss and Queens Of The Stone Age's Josh Homme. Kyuss' Brandt Bjork also features, and even some of her friends from first band Tinker make an appearance, suggesting that Auf Der Maur is a deeply personal album branded with a high level of importance from its author.
As for the songs themselves, they stand up remarkably well as part of one cohesive rock sound. There isn't a weak moment; what strikes you instantly about Auf Der Maur is the notion that consistency is always maintained throughout the twelve tracks. Lightning Is My Girl is a good, stomping opener that characteristically defines the remainder of the album, and by the time you reach debut Top 40 single Followed The Waves, Melissa's restrained but vampy vocal delivery proves to be all too alluring. Real A Lie has a strong chorus with a swirling, guitar-drenched atmosphere. The tone for the album is clearly set, and it seems that Melissa is comfortable as the noir-underworld heroine of the rock scene.
On Taste You, Melissa claimed that she would love to have had Morissey sing guest vocals, but instead she opted for Mark Lanegan, whose raspy tones seem a perfect undercurrent for the storming intensity on the song. I'll Be Anything You Want is a submissive and very groovy change of pace midway through the album, and it nicely sets up the more brooding numbers that close the album.
On the whole, Auf Der Maur is a strong album from a bassist-turned-frontgirl who has poured loving detail over every inch of the production. She might not be partial to headline-grabbing antics, but when it comes to pure love of music and true appreciation for one's own art, Melissa Auf Der Maur is leagues ahead of any of her contemporaries.
To read an exclusive interview with Melissa Auf Der Maur, click here