Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Album Review: Smashing Pumpkins - Gish

Smashing Pumpkins' debut, released in 1991, opens with I Am The One, which is a kind of generic early 90s indie track.  That's not a criticism but apart from Billy Corgan's vocals it could be Lir or Jane's Addiction.  Siva on the other hand is an epic piece of work with driving guitars, a pounding beat and a classic yet modern feel to it.

What follows, however is even better.  The strangely mispelt Rhinoceros is a slow, loping track which builds up gradually, adding guitars.  Corgan totally owns this song with a perfectly pitched vocal.  It's an absolutely monstrous song with towering guitar from Corgan and James Iha.

Bury Me is a strong, heavy rocker while Crush and Snail are early attempts at those slow Smashing Pumpkins anthems they perfected with the likes of Disarm and Soma on Siamese Dream.  Later on, Suffer is a gloriously downbeat slice of, dare I say it, grunge with Tristessa acting as its faster counterpoint.  Final track Daydream sees bassist D'Arcy Wretzky take the vocals on a downbeat shoegazey tune with a hidden track tacked on that the end (I'm Going Crazy) for good measure.

But the high quality of this debut was a clear indication Smashing Pumpkins had arrived fully formed.