Album: Auf Der Maur

Auf Der Maur, EMI

Having played alongside both Courtney Love and Billy Corgan, Melissa Auf Der Maur has presumably had her fill of planet-sized egos. For this solo debut, the hard-rock bassist has sensibly chosen a much less assertive cast of musicians with whom to develop her own vision: former bandmates such as the Hole drummer Eric Erlandson and the Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, a couple of chums from her first band, Tinker, and, most important, the guitarist Josh Homme, from Queens of the Stone Age, and the drummer Brant Bjork, who both used to play in Melissa's favourite band, Kyuss. Homme's input is decisive: tracks such as "Lightning Is My Girl" and "I'll Be Anything You Want" feature the kind of taut riffing he employs in QOTSA. Auf Der Maur fronts proceedings with presence: her banked vocal tracks are always in perfect equilibrium with the massive wall of guitars, making for a real iron fist/velvet glove combination. She's a more amenable, engaging singer than either of her old bosses, as perhaps befits an album steeped in sexual compulsion. "Taste You", "Beast of Honor" and "I'll Be Anything You Want" suggest a heart in thrall to lust, while "Overpower Thee" and the single "Followed the Waves" posit the unstoppable momentum of carnal desire as akin to stalking: "I followed the waves to you/ I've got to see it through." The 21st-century Suzi Quatro?