Monday, June 21, 2010

Melissa Auf Der Maur - Out of Our Minds

Released: Spring 2010
Availabilty: still new - still available
Label: Phi Group Inc (independant label) and Road Runner Records (major label, outside North America distro only)

Melissa Aud Der Maur started her solo career in the early 2000s, formerly the bassist for Hole (and the farewell tour for the Smashing Pumpkins). Her first album in 2004 was a straight forward rock album, her second album Out Of Our Minds is both just as much a rock album as it is an experimental album. It comes accompanied with a short movie, a comic book, and other media aspects.

I own just the CD, measuring it on the merits of music alone, and it took me a while to sit down and just listen to the album. The album finds a great balance between hard rock and light meldies.

The Hunt - more an instrumental solo than a song, the introduction to the album comes in like a hearbeat, though it's almost too long. Maybe a full minute could have been cut off this track is it sounds more like an intro-track than it does a song.

Out Of Our Minds - The title track here sets up the album as one filled with lush sounds, enchanting vocals, and a solid sense of rock basics.

Isis Speaks - We continue with a song that feels mystic in nature, the bass literally hums through this song, it feels like electricity set to rhythm. The chorus is extra catchy in this one.

Lead Horse - A slow instrumental, not much more than a rather extended guitar solo. Mellow, though like the intro a little too long.

Follow The Map - Images of ships, piracy, lost treasure, and broken hearts. Or something like that. A nice melody and a good beat.

22 Below - My favorite track, I love the cadence of the lyrics. A single guitar carries most of the song, only erupting into a full ensemble as the song repeats the bridge phrase and finally ends.

Meet Me On The Dark Side - Nothing particularly special about this song, it doesn't feel like filler exactly, but it isn't remarkable either.

This Would Be Paradise - More a lullaby than a song, the only lyric is a repeated quote about man's achievements and shortcoming.

Father's Grave - A duet with Glen Danzig, his baritone is a perfect offset to Melissa's own voice. This may be a conversation with the grim reaper, or a more literal killer. Either way, the two create haunting imagery as they switch off lines. The imagery reminds me greatly of Nick Cave.

The Key - A very different take on finding one's true love. Catchy tune, ends before it carries on too long.

The One - Struggling to connect with those around us, both alone and with someone. Soft, slow song. This borders on a love song, but doesn't quite make it there. "Someone's gotta love him / Someone's gotta love him" sounds more like bleak acceptance than anything noble.

1000 Years - Another song where the cadence of Melissa's music carries the song, creating the rhythm as much as anything. The song feels constantly like it wants to pick up the pace, suddenly take off an gallop instead of the steady trot it goes at.

There's dead air and silence after the last track ends for about a minute before the album provides a piano outro.

A good album to put on and let play in the background, especially with a whole group of other mellow rock albums on a shuffle.