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Ex-Hole / Smashing Pumpkins
bassist steps out on her own

Auf der Maur

Auf der Maur - Auf der Maur
(Capitol Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Aug. 23, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

Bassist Melissa Auf der Maur may not exactly be tapping into the sloppy grunge or heavy-alt rock laid down by the bands that formally employed her (Hole and Smashing Pumpkins respectively), but there are trace elements of both evident - along with those of Sonic Youth, The Breeders and Veruca Salt - on her self-tilted debut album.
The album was produced by Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age / Kyuss / Masters of Reality) and also features the talents of guitarist James Iha (Smashing / Pumpkins / A Perfect Circle), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Eric Erlandson (Hole) and John Stainer (Helmet) among others. And with this group of heavy hitters it's no surprise that the overall tone of Auf der Maur is delivered with a clobbering metal wallop.
From the thunderous opening of "Lightning Is My Girl," where Auf der Maur offers a sultry vocal delivery reminiscent of Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, to the crushing guitar riff of "Beast of Honor" and the delectable metal-pop of "Real A Lie" and "Would If I Could" this lanky crimson-haired musician exudes a football field full of testosterone, while a smoky haze of female sensuality permeates throughout.
Heavy enough to please metal heads, dark and creepy enough to win the black hearts of Goth fans and sexy enough to turn on anyone with blood still pumping through their veins, Auf der Maur has made a big, bold first step from side musician to bandleader. "I could easily overpower you," she sings over a simple, brooding piano line at one point throughout the album. But on this particular number it's not the quaking rhythms and jarring guitars, but rather the conviction in her lines and the complete vulnerability in her voice that ultimately does the job.

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