By Trevor Morelli
The more you listen to The Smashing Pumpkins new album Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol.1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun., the more one thing seems abundantly clear: they’re playing it safe.
Despite its pretentious title, this EP – which is supposedly part one of two – doesn’t do much to either change people’s minds about Billy Corgan and crew or push the envelope into new Pumpkins territory.
Your enjoyment of the disc, however, will largely depend on what you’re expecting from the ¾ “reunited” band in 2018. If you’re nostalgic for the fuzzy, angst-ridden grunge anthems of the ’90s, “Solara,” “Silvery Sometimes (Ghost)” and “Marchin’ On” will be right up your alley.
Most of these tracks are highly derivative of previous Pumpkins lore. For example, “Silvery Sometimes (Ghost)” sounds like
“1979,” “Solara” sounds like “Fuck You (An Ode to No One),” “Seek and You Shall Destroy” sounds like “The Everlasting Gaze”, and so on.
Opener “Knights of Malta” is the best track, a relaxed, slow burning rocker, complete chugging bass lines and vibrant gospel singers in the background. What follows is seven more tracks of loud, energetic, and again, fairly standard rock ‘n’ roll numbers.
On the other hand, if you’re one of the few that actually enjoy Corgan’s more progressive, self-absorbed side – the one that thinks it’s a fun idea to play instrumental jams in a teahouse for 14 hours, or whatever – there’s not much new here for you.
Few songs on Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol.1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. veer from the standard verse-chorus-verse formula, but maybe that’s what the Pumpkins need right now. Pandering to their fan base has served them well in the past and, given all the drama they’ve already experienced this year, saving the inevitable Twitter backlash for later might not be a bad thing.LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun., Napalm Records, Shiny and Oh So Bright, The Smashing Pumpkins, Vol.1