Melissa Auf der Maur – Auf der Maur

The debut effort from the former Hole and Smashing Pumpkins bassist is, in one word, gorgeous. Or am I talking about Auf der Maur herself? … I’m not sure. I’ve had a crush on her since she replaced Kristen Pfaff (who died of a heroin overdose June ’94) in Hole and was awe-struck when I finally got to see her live with her Black Sabbath cover band, Hand of Doom. She has managed to team up with producer Chris Goss (who worked with Queens of the Stone Age), drummer Brandt Bjork (Kyuss), and guitarists Josh Homme (Kyuss, QOTSA), Eric Erlandson (Hole), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), and Steve Durand and Jordan Zadorozny (Tinker). As well as an armload of others… there’s too much italics already.

In her biography on her website, Auf der Maur says that the recording process began in 2001, so obviously this was a huge labour of love on her part, if it took 3 years to get it on the record store shelves. Assembling musicians of the calibre she has could not have been easy either, although these are friends and bandmates who shared her vision.

Right from the opening guitar and whisper of ‘Lightning is my Girl’, we jump into something that may be reminiscent of Hole and Pumpkins, and has some obvious Sabbath undertones. I’m really not quite sure what I want to say, but this is one spectacular album. Again, you may hear the other influences, but this is a unique album, and Auf der Maur a unique performer… I mean, how many bass-playing chicks do you know who would tour as the ‘front man’ for a Sabbath cover band? I love this album, ‘Followed the Waves’ and ‘Beast of Honor’ being tracks that stand out, and yet the whole album is excellent, superlative, rock and roll!

9 out of 10 saltines from the Big Cracker … I can’t quite call it perfect, sorry.