Nineties alt rock heroes Smashing Pumpkins managed to come apparently out of nowhere, toss out two amazing records, create one of the biggest assholes in rock (and that is not a small feat), turn in a couple of weaker, though successful follow up records and implode (though still limp along creating lesser albums with fewer and fewer original members) all in the span of a decade.
EMI has just released remastered editions of Gish and Siamese Dreams – the first and far greatest efforts from the Chicago band – and it’s definitely worth springing for the deluxe editions that include two CDs and a DVD per release. The extra CDs include various demos while the DVDs include two fantastic concerts at The Metro in Chicago (recorded in 1990 and 1993).
Though lumped in with Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam as a grunge band when they first surfaced, the genre was a bit misleading. They didn’t nearly have the strong metal influence that those other band had, but drew a great deal from a more diverse list of groups that included bands like The Cure, Queen, T Rex and David Bowie. Though Smashing Pumpkins went on to phenomenal success with their third record, the 28-song opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, these first two efforts are less polished and more satisfyingly original – the strongest in the band’s cannon. Songs like Gish’s opener “I Am” and the “Window Paine” are among their finest moments as a band and Siamese Dream is a great follow up.
Though Smashing Pumpkins had already started showing cracks by their third album; were desperate by their fourth effort and became front man Billy Corgan’s pathetic ego stroke with every release since; these re-releases are a nice reminder of how important the band once was.
Smashing Pumpkins – Gish , Siamese Dream [Deluxe Editions]/2 CDs and 1 DVD each/2011/EMI