Al­bum Re­views

Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol .1/ LP: No Past. No Fu­ture. No Sun.

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

Aweighty 13 years since he de­clared he wanted his band, songs and dreams back, Billy Cor­gan’s wishes have fi­nally been granted: The Smash­ing Pump­kins (as in, the ac­tual Smash­ing Pump­kins, not the bas­tardised re­hash Cor­gan whipped up in ’06) have re­united… Well, mostly. D’arcy Wret­zky would still hap­pily jam the head­stock of her bass down Cor­gan’s throat, should the op­por­tu­nity arise, but the sticky, jammy alt-rock origami that Cor­gan, James Iha and Jimmy Cham­ber­lain made ‘90s kids fall head over heels for has been re-folded to its for­mer beauty.

The first chap­ter of their ShinyAndOhSoBright saga (one we’re hop­ing isn’t aban­doned be­fore com­ple­tion like Tear­gar­denByKalei­dyscope was), NoPast.No

Fu­ture.NoSun. is a bright, boom­ing and buoy­ant – if some­what un­der­stated at times – mas­ter­class in how to make a come­back. It feels nos­tal­gic but never dated, the dusti­ness of the Pump­kins’ shed-set ori­gins peep­ing through from be­hind a no­tably modern set of sounds. A playthrough barely scratches past the half-hour mark, but its brevity is what makes this such a strik­ing first en­try in what could be a land­mark se­ries – where re­cent ef­forts have far over­stayed their wel­come, LPX leaves us tee­ter­ing on the edge of our seat for more.

And though they never truly go all-out with the loud and fren­zied pay­off mo­ments their first three al­bums were burst­ing at the seams with, the quar­tet don’t shy away from their gain knobs. Cuts like “Marchin’ On” and “So­lara” bub­ble and brew with a youth­ful fury, gui­tars pound­ing and pow­er­ful and de­cently furry. The more strained and softer mo­ments of lat­ter-day Pump­kins are favoured over those amp-pun­ish­ing on­slaughts of at­tack, but we’re thrown a good lit­tle stash of bones across the eight tracks on show.

To that end, Iha’s noodly, in­tro­spec­tive fret­work has been es­pe­cially missed. Dol­ing out daz­zling chunks of crys­talline rif­fery both un­der four and six strings, he steals the show al­most ev­ery­where on this al­bum. Cor­gan’s play­ing is more or­na­men­tal in the mix – he’s com­fort­able let­ting Iha gov­ern our ears be­hind the axe, and in­stead works to bend and breathe around his dy­nam­ics on the vo­cal front. A promis­ing re­turn to his for­mer glory, NoPast.No

Fu­ture.NoSun. scratches an itch that Cor­gan hasn’t been able to reach since the turn of the 21st cen­tury.

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