Sunday, January 4, 2015

Album Review: Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot

Sometimes it's easy to forget how incredibly on their game The Smashing Pumpkins were in the early nineties.  This collection of B-sides, released in 1994 came in the wake of the still stunning Siamese Dream and just before they pushed things a little too far on the overblown Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.  As these things generally are, it's a mixed bag.

Opening with the gentle whisper of the aptly titled Soothe, the rocky Frail and Bedazzled follows and like some of the other material (Pissant, Hello Kitty Kat) it's unremarkable.  Things improve on the sludgy Plume which plods pleasingly along.  The tracks which follows, Whir and Blew Away are wonderfully airy tracks with a lightness of touch not generally associated with Billy Corgan and co, the latter almost like a slab of seventies soft rock.

On the other hand, eleven minutes of riffing on Starla is just way, way too much.  When the Smashing Pumpkins rein it in however, they deliver tracks that are up there with their best, returning to introspection on the dreamy strum of Obscured and a downright vulnerable version of Fleetwood Mac's Landslide.  Well worth investigating.