Country of origin:
Type of music generally:
Most recent release, The Gods Envy (EP, 2013)
Own, covers, co-written songs
I'm impressed. She reminds me a lot of Margot Smith, but she's slightly more inventive. (Urs Stafford)
Comments about live performance:
The biggest surprise was Max's live-to-air performance: with just her voice and an acoustic guitar, she did five and a half songs that quite literally stunned the attendant audience into silence. Her voice is *amazing*, with a range stretching from a sultry low through an emotional high to a phenomenal opera soprano, and she'll happily use the entire range in one song. She opened her live set with an earnest rendition of Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You" that seemed quite sweet and lovely until that famous ultra-high note, upon which Max wrapped her mouth around the microphone and let fly with a blood-curdling scream before going into the next song. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Recommended first album:
Either, though a million year girl is at least possible to find.
1994—EastWest. There was an early, 5 track version and the more common one, with just 3 songs. But the ones deleted from the EP made their way to the album.
Out of print; currently available digitally on iTunes
High curiosity value
Max and various studio musicians.
The cover has Max sleeping with a lion. The five tracks cross a whole range of styles; the title track is a Big Pop Song with strange verses and some opera, the lyrics portray a woman stalking a former lover, something that Max has been copping a bit of flak for, never mind the fact that if the sexes were reversed and the band was a cock-rock guitar act, no one would care. Also on the EP is a soul-tinged drum-loop powered sultry torch song with orchestra, a jazz-influenced aggressive ballad with inventive spoken vocal backgrounds, a beautiful guitar ballad, and a bit of operatic invention with piano and strings called "Crash Landing" that sounds like Ingrid Chavez and Kate Bush in a car accident with Dame Joan Sutherland. (email@example.com)
1995—Warner Music Australia
Widely available in Australia and in the U.S.
Worth getting but perhaps not essential.
Max Sharam—vocals, backing vocals, sound effects
I was a bit disappointed, certainly, but that doesn't make Max's album a bad one. It's just that she sounds like she's being smothered by outside influences for the first half of the record. On first listen it seemed to be a disappointment—opening with second single, "Be Firm" (a big, anthemic pop song), then going on to "Coma" and then a cover of Melanie Safka's "Lay Down" (also, in this incarnation, a big anthemic pop song) it appeared that the Coma EP's subtle humour and sonic cleverness had been replaced by a crushing urge to get in the singles charts. But the greater part of the rest of the album pays off patient listeners with some truly inspired songs and, yes, sonic strangeness. Somehow, Max managed to tread the line between commercial marketability and experimentation without falling off. And the closing track, "Orchestra Au Naturel", is incredibly moving and worth the price of the whole album. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks to Andrew Fries for work on this entry.
DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.
|Entry last updated 2015-05-25 01:40:34.
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