AOM Logo November 1998

Hole: Celebrity Skin


Playing Time: 50:29

Christopher Tocher

Hole: Celebrity Skin

For those listeners who were expecting Hole's Celebrity Skin to be an extension of their four previous efforts…forget it! This long anticipated album is an electrifying effort with almost every emotional and musical element you wouldn't expect from this wily quartet: expressionism vs. fury vs. dissonance vs. experimentation vs. angst vs. consonance - all wrapped up into one tasty package of tunes.

The band's new approach to songwriting was immediately obvious. The songs have a degree of sincerity and directional momentum that doesn't falter. All twelve tracks are clearly a collaborative effort as opposed to, what some wags call, "The Courtney Love Show"!

The opening, and title, track is a driving introduction, segueing the listener into a vault of carefully constructed tunes. Along the journey, you'll discover backing vocals by the other band members (Melissa Auf Der Maur / Eric Erlandson / Patty Schemel), as well as non-traditional Hole instrumentation such as acoustic guitar and keyboard sampling, both timbres contributing to the sincere quality that permeates the band's efforts.

Hole Family Portrait

Perhaps the refreshing new and improved Hole is the result of a new producer, recording facility (the bulk of the album was recorded at Conway studios in Los Angeles) and a new bass player? Producer Michael Beinhorn (of Soundgarden, Soul Asylum, and Red Hot Chili Peppers fame) has balanced the typical Hole fury and created a smoothly connected, polished musical product. Enter Canadian bassist Melissa Auf Der Mar. A professed computer illiterate from Québec, she has been with the band since the untimely and tragic death of former bass player Kristin Pfaff. Auf Der Mar's bass lines lay a solid foundation and include many inventive ideas.

With Hole's commercial success, I can imagine they are enjoying a fair amount of financial independence - nothing like calling your own shots in the bottom-line world of rock and roll. Maybe liberty from the buck will afford Hole the opportunity to take even more chances next time? But for the present, Hole is on the righteous path of sound and glory. I just hope they don't keep us waiting as long for the next album.

[As there is no official web site, band information and images can be found at - Assoc. Ed.]

Copyright © 1998 Audiophilia Online Magazine Home