Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny And Oh So Bright Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. – Album Review by Killian Laher
Four years on from Monuments for an Elegy, Billy Corgan and co return with this short follow-up, this time with James Iha in tow. Not quite a full band reunion as former bassist D’arcy Wretzky is still out in the cold. The album opens with a mid-paced tune, Knights of Malta which features woah-woahing and gospel-choir style backing vocals. The album kicks into gear properly with Silvery Sometimes, a 1979-derived strummy pop song, while later, With Sympathy has an easy charm to its jangly guitars.
So what about actual rock n roll? The fuzzy, anthemic guitars on Travels provide a little bite, while Solara opens with Jimmy Chamberlin’s drums paying homage to Metallica’s Enter Sandman, before Billy Corgan’s dramatic chorus. Both are carefully constructed to sound radio-friendly, if such a thing still exists with catchy, major key melodies with strings. Marchin’ On is an attempt at a brawny, power-rocker with a driving riff but Corgan’s voice doesn’t really gel with the rest of the song.
By the time we reach Alienation it’s all starting to sound a bit familiar, like we’ve heard these songs before. Those looking for a rocking blow-out won’t find it here. So a Smashing Pumpkins album that continues in the poppier direction they have pursued of late. Not their worst album, but not a standout in their catalogue.
Track List –
1. Knights of Malta
2. Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)
6. Marchin’ On
7. With Sympathy
8. Seek And You Shall Destroy