Alt-rock luminaries make compelling comeback with most of the original line-up.
Didn’t think Billy Corgan and co still had it in them? Think again, you cynic!
SMASHING PUMPKINS SHINY AND OH SO BRIGHT, VOL.1/ LP: NO PAST. NO FUTURE. NO SUN. NAPALM, OUT 16 NOVEMBER
“We gotta make this happen,” sings Billy Corgan over the triumphant strings of Knights Of Malta, officially kick-starting Smashing Pumpkins’ re-reunion record. If he’s not referring to his own band here, he may as well be. Regardless of whether their latter-day albums have been excellent (Oceania) or inconsistent (Zeitgeist), ever since their first partial resurrection in 2007, they have struggled to capture imaginations like they did oh-so extravagantly in the ’ 90s. Last year, Corgan even intimated that he would potentially rather raze the Pumpkin patch altogether than face a continuum of indifference as its sole original member. Fortunately, a third option materialised: reuniting the band’s original line-up, minus bassist D’arcy Wretzky. Shiny And Oh So Bright… is perhaps not the anticipated firestorm of riffs and pomp, but across its eight tracks it is enthralling. There are moments of glorious burning distortion on Solara and Marchin’ On, but its real riches are much more subtle. Throughout, the band often operate in elder-statesmen mode: their music catering only to the demands of feeling, not volume. In the case of Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts), it’s resulted in one of the most resplendent songs of their career. For a band claiming “no past” and “no future”, the present suits them extremely well. ★★★★ Listen To: Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts) | Knights Of Malta | Travels
There are moments of glorious burning distortion, but its real riches are much more subtle.
Smashing Pumpkins (from left, Jimmy Chamberlin, Billy Corgan, James Iha, Jeff Schroeder): “the present suits them.”