Auf Der Maur : Auf Der Maur
Ex Hole and ex Pumpkins member looks to a very bright future...
Auf Der Maur are more than just one person, both Stone Age Queen Josh Homme and former Kyuss bandmate Brandt Bjork, both appear, the former co-writing a couple of songs too, and both band’s influence runs deep throughout the whole album. Opening track, ‘Lightning Is My Girl’ and first single ‘Followed The Waves’ find Melissa’s vocals - a mix of breathy whispers and effortless, off-hand cool - floating a few spare inches above rigorously muscular riffs. "I’m gonna shuffle his deck clean," she promises, the smile audibly curling her lips, at the end of the latter and you immediately think, you lucky bastard. Unless she really is talking about cards, which seems unlikely.
It’s best not to think about Mr WK during the none-more-saucy, ‘Taste You’ ("Plug it in, so I can digest you"), but even if you do, the band are busy pulling off such audaciously monstrous choruses - and a note-perfect rip-off of The Cure’s ‘Love Song’, legal fans - that you’ll happily let it go. And again, the mix of stingingly personal lyrics: "I need it louder than bombs," say, or "I have a big mouth, I will taste you", married to such bruisingly heavy music just draws you in even further, while the crunchy production is so massive, so physical, the music fills every in of space it comes into contact with. Your frontroom or your headphones present Auf Der Maur in perfect arena sound and Melissa herself is never less than upfront, dead centre.
‘Beast Of Honor’ could, indeed should, be the next single, the unmistakable aura of 80s alternative British rock - this time it’s the ringing guitar attack of prime Killing Joke - are all over it, but what’s really unmissable, and what takes the album from being merely very good to being genuinely wonderful, is the sense of joy that surrounds it. "I’ll Be Anything You Want", for instance, starts with cute voice-over from Melissa, leaps into a loving parody of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’, before exploding into a towering chorus so overpoweringly tuneful you feel like it’s always been a precious part of your life. Then it coquettishly twists the lyrics from Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ and fucks off laughing with its finger in the air. And if you hadn’t realised it already, they’ve won.
‘Would If I Could’ is gorgeous, like New Order and The Psychedelic Furs joining forces to soundtrack some 80s tortured teen drama and Melissa’s delivery of ‘Overpower Thee’ is so raw it needs surgery, but most important of all is ‘Auf Der Maur’ feels like coming home, and after such an amazing journey, that’s always going to feel good. Only one question remains: how on earth does she find the time to watch soap operas and sit talking rubbish in pubs?
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