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Max Sharam


Country of origin:

Australia

Type of music generally:

Alternative and mainstream pop

Status:

Most recent release, The Gods Envy (EP, 2013)

See also:

Max Sharam pages

Comparisons:

Margot Smith. (ectophil@netlink.co.nz)

Covers/own material:

Own, covers, co-written songs

General comments:

I'm impressed. She reminds me a lot of Margot Smith, but she's slightly more inventive. (Urs Stafford)

I first saw Max at the busking competition, where she stood out like a beacon. She had this star quality, as well as simply amazing voice and great songs.... I watched her many times after that, playing small cafes on the usual indie circuit but she still seemed destined and determined to reach for greater things. And she did hit a relatively big time after a while; her record was very popular here. Unfortunately it was but a pale reflection of these wonderful gigs I still remember. I hate to accuse an artist of selling out, but that is exactly how I feel about her. (afries@zip.com.au)

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. (ahoran@ozemail.com.au)

Recommended first album:

Either, though a million year girl is at least possible to find.

Recordings:


Coma EP

Release info:

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.

Availability:

Out of print; currently available digitally on iTunes

Ecto priority:

High curiosity value

Group members:

Max and various studio musicians.

Comments:

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. (ahoran@ozemail.com.au)

Her song "Crash Landing" is awesome. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


a million year girl

Release info:

1995—Warner Music Australia

Availability:

Widely available in Australia and in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Worth getting but perhaps not essential.

Group members:

Max Sharam—vocals, backing vocals, sound effects

Guest artists:

Gordon Ritmeister—drums
Warwick Factor—bass, double bass
Peter Northcote—electric guitars
Daniel Denholm—electric guitars, bass, piano, keyboards, programming, string arrangements, French horn
Mark Punch—acoustic guitar
Tim Brewer—piano
Connie Mitchell—backing vocals
Ben Nightingale—electric guitar
Bill "The Shirt"—aud
Nick Mainsbridge—drum programming, keyboards
Terapai Richmond—drums
Alex Hewetson—bass
Sofie Michalitsianos
Amanda Brown—violin, mandolin
Wendy Matthews—backing vocals
Toni Allayialis—backing vocals
Denys Mason—backing vocals
Tam Morris—backing vocals
Christian Pyle—acoustic guitar
Ben Whatmore—electric guitar
Ulpia—harp

Produced by:

Daniel Denholm

Comments:

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. (ahoran@ozemail.com.au)

Some unexpectedly poppish moments (particularly the "Be Firm" single, which is the album's weakest song in my opinion), but a fine album overall, with a wonderful booklet design (not necessarily a good reason to buy an album, but neat nonetheless. :) You may prefer the five-track Coma EP, however, which although shorter (obviously), has few weak moments. (ectophil@netlink.co.nz)

Was pleased to finally see this. It's seems like I've been hearing about her for years here on ecto from the Australian contingent. Nice album—very poppy but still very good. Pretty powerful voice, but I don't know if it's coincidence, the accent or what, but she really reminds me of Margot Smith, another artist I would have never heard had it not been from the Aussie/New Zealand ectophiles. Would definitely recommend this to people who like the more "pop" side of ecto. And great artwork! (jjhanson@att.net)

She is ok—not exceptional but one can listen to it. It gets better after the first songs though so I guess it is worth some more listenings. (onealien@mo.himolde.no)


Thanks to Andrew Fries for work on this entry.

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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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