First Review: Smashing Pumpkins New Album Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1

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Q Magazine‘s George Garner has published the first review of The Smashing Pumpkins new reunion album Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1: No Past. No Future. No Sun. The album reunites original members Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin for the first time since the MACHINA albums in 2000.

Garner writes, “’We gotta make this happen,’ sings Billy Corgan over the triumphant strings of Knights of Malta, officially kick-starting Smashing Pumpkins’ re-reunion record.”

He later adds, “Shiny and Oh So Bright…is perhaps not the anticipated firestorm of riffs and pomp, but across its eight tracks it is enthralling. There are moments of glorious burning distortion on Solara and Marchin’ On, but it’s real riches are much more subtle.

Throughout, the band often operate in elder-statesmen modes their music catering not only to the demands of feeling, but volume.”

Q magazine gave the album four stars, with “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)”, “Travels”, and “Knights of Malta” being listed as the standout tracks. This should please Billy Corgan, who complained about the last Smashing Pumpkins album Monuments to an Elegy receiving many three stars reviews.

Corgan told Guardian in December 2014, “I thought for sure I would get really strong reviews for our new album, based on all the feedback I was getting,” Corgan explained. “But I’m getting the same reviews I got back in the day, these kind of middling, muddling reviews that just won’t fucking say: ‘This is a fucking brilliant album from a brilliant artist.’ It’s always got to have a qualifier to it.”

“The joke for me is that I’ve been on the fucking outside for 25 years,” he said. “My whole point is — at what point do I get invited inside?”

“Nobody believes it’s a three-star record.”

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan is currently hard at work on the MACHINA reissue. He has provided an update in a new Instagram post.

“#MACHINA: In searching through the never-ending archives yesterday (I’m two 8-hour days in and haven’t come close to the bottom of the barrel), I found myself ruminating on a particular song. And said as much to my engineer Nikola. ‘It’s taken me thirty years to realize that I write songs for movies that may never get made. I create a unique world in my mind, and these efforts are my response to that world.’ And what’s so beautiful now with the technologies available to the touring musician is that, as seen with the Shiny and Oh So Bright staging, I was able to bring some of that particular movie to you live. Which of course sets up the next logical question: What’s the next movie SP will play to? Answer: you’ll see soon enough….

But back to Machina. Here’s a few curiosities I found traipsing, in no particular order. Recordings of James and I preparing for our Bridge School show at the end of ‘99, with songs like Tom Waits’’Ol 55’ and @u2’s ‘Stay’ charmingly documented.

Also, Machina tour rehearsals I guess recorded in-studio, with a blistering and fresh version of ‘Everlasting Gaze’. Lots and lots of work product, where a hearty soul could literally listen to the evolution of a given song from the band learning the song to later, hearing us rip it apart at the seams and the silly dialogue in-between. The slow devolution of the sessions from, as stated before, conventional music and approach to a near-abandonment of propriety and everything from then on slung at electronic walls and beats in the hopes to find something new. Songs like ‘Heavy Metal Machine’ and ‘This Time’ being given scant oxygen to mature, whilst other less worthy were given ample hours to flower. We resume work Friday.”

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#MACHINA: In searching through the never-ending archives yesterday (I’m two 8-hour days in and haven’t come close to the bottom of the barrel), I found myself ruminating on a particular song. And said as much to my engineer Nikola. ‘It’s taken me thirty years to realize that I write songs for movies that may never get made. I create a unique world in my mind, and these efforts are my response to that world.’ And what’s so beautiful now with the technologies available to the touring musician is that, as seen with the Shiny and Oh So Bright staging, I was able to bring some of that particular movie to you live. Which of course sets up the next logical question: What’s the next movie SP will play to? Answer: you’ll see soon enough…. But back to Machina. Here’s a few curiosities I found traipsing, in no particular order. Recordings of James and I preparing for our Bridge School show at the end of ‘99, with songs like Tom Waits’’Ol 55’ and @u2’s ‘Stay’ charmingly documented. Also, Machina tour rehearsals I guess recorded in-studio, with a blistering and fresh version of ‘Everlasting Gaze’. Lots and lots of work product, where a hearty soul could literally listen to the evolution of a given song from the band learning the song to later, hearing us rip it apart at the seams and the silly dialogue in-between. The slow devolution of the sessions from, as stated before, conventional music and approach to a near-abandonment of propriety and everything from then on slung at electronic walls and beats in the hopes to find something new. Songs like ‘Heavy Metal Machine’ and ‘This Time’ being given scant oxygen to mature, whilst other less worthy were given ample hours to flower. We resume work Friday.

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