Melissa Auf Der Maur - Melissa Auf Der Maur

After playing with Hole and The Smashing Pumpkins (a fine resume on any musicians CV), it would only be a matter of time before Melissa Auf Der Maur would make a solo album. By sheer coincidence or a canny spot of marketing savvy her former band mate Courtney Love has her own comeback album out as well in the same month. At the time of going to press i've not heard Mrs Cobains CD, but it would have to be an absolute belter to come within spitting distance of this classic rock masterpiece i've just had the pleasure of listening to.

The glamorous, raven haired bass player has the good sense to enlist a number of high profile guest spots including Twiggy Ramirez (ex-Marilyn Manson), the three members of Queens Of The Stone Age, i.e Homme, Oliveri and Lanegan, plus players from her previous bands, Eric Erlandon (Hole) and James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins). A supergroup of the highest order i'm sure you'll agree. With total artistic control and free reign to express herself musically, lyrically and emotionally, Melissa has created probably one of the best albums of the year so far.

Kicking Off proceedings is "Lightning Is My Girl" which goes straight for the jugular with a crunching guitar riff. While Melissa's voice isn't that strong or distinctive, it's full of attitude and shimmers with cool sensuality. The lyrics are just oozing sexuality and female empowerment. "Head Unbound" has a tremendous bass intro and a retro grunge feel, at times it sounds like vintage Nirvana. The production is impeccable with a touch of keyboards creeping in. This has the brutal honesty of PJ Harvey's best moments and the song has a live, yet focused sense of momentum. The closest we get to the hey day of riot grrls movement. More rock n roll mayhem comes in the form of "Beast Of Honour". When Mel sings "I'm on a hook" you can only nod in agreement at her heartfelt sentiments. The weird and wonderful "Skin Receiver" is half goth, half metal and when we hear the lyric "avoid the eye of contact" were compelled to comply to Miss Auf Der Maur's demand.

This is undiluted rock with a keen sense of melody. For maximum effect play this loud, lose yourself in Melissa's world, keep an ear cocked for the barbed lyrics as this bass playing supremo is one rock chick not to be messed with.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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