The Smashing Pumpkins have released their tenth studio album, with a ridiculously long title: Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
The LP features eight songs covering 31 minutes and was recorded at Shangri Las studio in California with famed producer Rick Rubin. The band features a reunited lineup including Billy Corgan, James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin, and Jeff Schroeder.
Having formed in 1988, the band would achieve major success as part of the '90s grunge era, especially on their albums Siamese Dream (1993) and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995). Thirty years after forming, the pumpkins are proving that there are plenty of creative juices left in the tank.
Longtime fans will instantly recognize the band's familiar rock sound in songs like "Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)" with steady guitar strumming and vocal melodies reminiscent of one of the band's first big hits, "1979." Another new song, "Solara" features hair-raising overdriven guitar progressions and Jimmy's dexterous playing.
Although "Knights Of Malta" and "Alienation" are less aggressive, the songs demonstrate the group's creativity with piano and harmonies. At under three minutes, "Marchin' On" packs a heavy punch highlighted by Chamberlin's skillful drumming and Corgan's passionate vocals.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this album is the overall tone. With a master producer like Rick Rubin at the controls, you would expect everything to sound great, but the guitars, drums, and vocals are somewhat stale compared to what we would expect. Maybe a little less compression and a little more reverb could have helped glue everything together and liven things up.
Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun is a quick listen, and just the tip of the iceberg as "Vol. 1" would imply. As Corgan mentioned in an interview with Zane Lowe, the band will be putting out more music in the future. It will be interesting to hear if the recharged energy of the three original members continues and what creative directions lay ahead.
Our favorite songs are "Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)," "Travels," "Solara," and "Marchin' On."
Pick up the new album on Amazon. You can also stream the full LP below.
The band will head back out on a North American tour at the end of the month. For concert tickets and more, check out the Smashing Pumpkins Zumic artist page.