The Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun.
The Smashing Pumpkins' latest effort forces an emotional conflict that puts you on the fence; loving one half and despising the other
The Smashing Pumpkins' latest effort, Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun., forces an emotional conflict that puts you on the fence – loving one half and despising the other. Opener Knights of Malta is predictable and melodically dull; the repetitive vocal hook that continues to weave in and out of the track is annoying and unnecessary. Attempting to be epic using enormous guitars, it struggles to hold a memorable impact. It's easily the worst track on the album, and the production aspect of the drums is the only encouraging element.
Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts) is exciting and animated – and wouldn't feel out of place on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The song carries hope as it gifts orchestral instrumentation with chunky guitars and a suitably scattered vocal; it's promisingly fruitful, and conjures a thrilling direction for the rest of the album. The sultry atmosphere of Travels continues the momentum of a blissful 90s theme, hauling you into its natural and breezy grasp with a delicate and self-assured touch.
Unfortunately things go downhill from there. Solara and Alienation are just tacky – the unimaginative arrangements and cheesy lyrics will leave you feeling confused – while Marchin’ On fumbles around trying to salvage integrity, but returns empty-handed. It's got a mammoth riff but it doesn’t go anywhere.
Thankfully the album closes out on a high note. With Sympathy puts a smile back on your face, presenting luscious basslines and freeing guitar parts. The vocals float around, creating a severely addictive backdrop. The backing vocals are also warm and fantastically fragile, unembellished and great.
Overall, Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. is a pleasantly nostalgic, brief album – half of which is sensational and the other is painstakingly poor.
Listen to: With Sympathy, Silvery Sometimes (Ghost), Travels