[sic] Magazine

Melissa Auf Der Maur – Out of Our Minds

I’ve been waiting six long years for Melissa Auf Der Maur to FINALLY put out a follow-up to her brilliant solo debut. And apparently my waiting is over with the release of ‘Out of Our Minds,’ a brilliantly incisive, fiery chunk of hard-edged rock’n’roll that leaves your hair standing on end and your ears tingling. Forget those little guitar-swinging teenagers — this is a true rock chick.

It starts off with ‘The Hunt,’ a thumping wild-blooded instrumental that serves as an intro to the rest of the album, but is a little weak on its own. Then there’s the sinuous title song, with Auf der Maur crooning languidly, “If you’re listening, come in/If there’s a fire, I need a desire…”

And after that, it REALLY takes off — Auf der Maur roars through sensual bass-rockers, languid twisting guitar melodies that blossom into epic rockers, a bouncy powerpop song or two (‘Follow the Map’), darkly alluring hard-rock (‘Meet Me on the Darkside’), a yearning flickering little rock song (‘The Key’), wild mythically-flavored stretches of bass’n’drums, and a spiky finale full of flames and grime. And she even has a couple of bittersweet songs that rest on acoustics, such as the soft slow buildup of ‘This Would be Paradise.’

The best part of the album: ‘1000 Years,’ which starts off slow and simple, but expands into a supernova of white-hot wildness ( “Before Adam/Before Eve/the lizard sang this melody/now it’s twisted/and it’s town/by felines and all you BORES!” ). It’s no ‘I Need I Want I Will,’ but it’s still a brilliant song.

After six years you’d expect Melissa Auf Der Maur to sound a little different, and she does — ‘Out of Our Minds’ isn’t as heavy and raw as her self-titled debut, which was basically a shot of pure hard-rock right into your veins. The bass is a little more muted, and there are some quieter, more contemplative moments instead of wall-to-wall rocking like last time.

So, fair warning: This is not ‘Auf Der Maur’ reheated. Where that album boiled over, this one simmers and steams.

That said, it was a little hard to warm up to the slower-moving instrumentals like ‘Lead Horse’ or ‘This Would Be Paradise’ — they sound like B-sides tacked into the album. The rest of the album is good stuff though, with heavy ringing riffs twining at the heart of songs like ‘Isis Speaks’ and ‘Meet Me On The Darkside,’ spurts of flaming bass, sharp drums and flickers of keyboard. There’s a storm in the heart of these songs, and when it breaks out Auf der Maur is nothing short of brilliant.

And her voice is utterly lovely — she can sneer, snarl and murmur her way through the songs with a note of mockery, but she sounds even better when she just bursts out and sings (such as at the climax of ‘Father’s Grave’). Her lyrics are the weakest part of the album — they’re not bad, but they are still kind of clumsy ( “Suspect I’ve rejected/I have wounded/Truth be told/I’ve been bad/ashamed, to blame…” ).

I don’t know if Melissa Auf Der Maur is out of HER mind, but ‘Out of Our Minds’ is a solid, strong sophomore album — and here’s hoping she doesn’t take six years to put out her third!