April 9, 1998
Thanks to Clan for typing this article.
JAMES IHA Let It Come Down (Virgin): To be perfectly clear, I expect that anything emanating from the Smashing Pumpkins' creative brain trust would suck the big'un. Like many people who just can't stand the puny, whiny, self-serving crap (!!!) dished up by that Rasputin of Alternative rock, Billy Corgan, when this album came down my pike, I expected the worst, with clenched teeth 'n' fists. Iha, the group's guitarist, is the first to strike out solo, and the gun was loaded when I hit "play".
But Let It Come Down sounds nothing like the Smumpkins; in fact, he plays smooth, undistorted, not-aspiring-to-something-it-isn't, straight forward pop music. Iha says his soft, '70's-pop style was formed in reaction to playing screaming, distorted guitar every night on tour. However, this light, fun music managed to escape undamaged from night after night of helping Corgan misshape the concepts of what makes good music for America's youth (!!!) , thank goodness it did. Caught somewhere between B.J. Thomas and The Lightening Seeds, Iha borrows here and there to construct really cute, sweet-sounding tunes with enough groove in them to separate his stuff from, say, Anne Murray, but still injecting enough Monkees so that we know it's stuff we can dance to. Like Mathew Sweet's, this music is so incredibly derivative that only Iha's absolute confidence in his hooks and attention to excellent production detail save the day. Now if we could only get him to stay away from that Corgan guy (!!!!!!!!!!), we might even consider pardoning him for past sins.
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