Latest Smashing Pumpkins album conforms to pop era


The drilling, heavy riffs you may be used to from any other Smashing Pumpkins album lacks in their new album “Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1/ LP: No past. No Future. No Sun. released on Nov. 15.

This eight-track album has, at best, two songs that have traces of the band’s original sound from their famous albums, “Siamese Dream” or “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Since their breakup 18 years ago, this is the first record released with three of the four original members. Leadman Billy Corgan, along with drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and James Iha on guitar, the band has had some dispute, according to Spin Magazine, with inviting former bassist D’arcy Wretzky to reunite.

The album is like a milk carton that’s been left out as long as the band has broken up. The track “Solara” has the similar distort and heavy metal riffs as “Zero” of the band’s iconic sound off “Mellon Collie And Infinite Sadness.” “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” has the same nostalgic sounds as “Today” off the band’s hit album “Siamese Dream, but it’s almost as if the band has gone stale.

The original screeching sonance mixed with the melancholy riffs is not the same archetypical tunes the shaped the band back in the ‘90s. It’s as if Corgan was in a rabbit hole for the past three years and took a chance with a modern sound on the new album. With three of the four original members, the original Pumpkins sound has gone quite sour with pop. The first song, “King’s of Malta” includes a choir that really detracts from the song’s potential.

This is one of the Pumpkins’ shortest records as well. Barely passing 30 minutes, their new album is much shorter than the typical two-hour rock ballads the band has produced over the past decades.

“Not to be pedantic about it but I think the results are obvious; when we get together and we make music, we do better,” Corgan told BUILD when asked about the band getting back together. “They certainly make me better than I would be on my own.”

The track “Solara” has a music video that was released four months ago on YouTube. It has an “Alice In Wonderland” mixed with a “Mad Max” persona that is very fitting for the band’s original persona. One of the only tracks with a noticeable trace of the band’s former platinum records is overcome by modernism. The chorus has gone catchy with the muted riffs in the background.

Although the band is allowed to change with the times and adapt to current music trends, this record missed the mark by a long shot. It won’t make your ears bleed but if you are searching for the roots of the band, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.

One element of the album that mirrors their old Smashing Pumpkins ways are the lyrics, filled with depression and dystopia; the morose lyrics follow the band’s pessimistic persona. The band is close to reaching the similar success of their other four consecutive platinum records at its peak but fell slightly short when trying to add a modern flair to their new album.