The Smashing Pumpkins



by tribestros USER (62 Reviews)
July 15th, 2007 | 17 replies

Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid, yet immature debut that sets the groundwork for future Pumpkins albums.

Debut albums usually showcase bands trying to find their sound, and perfect it while getting their name out to the public. While Gish isn't excellent by any means; that's exactly what it did. Gish is definately the foundation for Siamese Dream because the songs on the album are loaded with the heavily-layered guitar work that made Siamese Dream a classic. There's plenty of excellent drumming, and the James Iha/Billy Corgan guitar duo is as present as ever. While their sound was not perfected in anyway in any of these sections of their music, Gish managed to be the perfect stepping stone for the band and future fans of the band.

Much to their dismay, the Pumpkins were rightly lumped in with the ever-budding grunge movement led by bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Their music was heavy on the guitars, Billy Corgan's vocals were as disjointed and noisy as ever; and there's plenty of Billy Corgan screaming on the record. The Pumpkins seemed just as a band that took the grunge sound and fine-tweaked it to make their music seem unique. But that was oh, so wrong as what the grunge bands lacked was the ability to feature prominent breakdowns in their songs and throw slower epics in their albums like Rhinocerous. And as time would show it, the Pumpkins flew farther away from the grunge movements with their future releases.

And after a few listens to the album, what seems to stick out to me is the way the songs all use the same techniques and ideas to a point where some of the songs can't be told apart; but even with this minor problem, Gish is still at its core pure Pumpkins and its plainly apparent with the opener to the album, I Am One which starts out with a simple Jimmy Chamberlin drum beat that quickly picks up into the typical sounding Pumpkins guitar attack. Billy Corgan comes in singing with his typical whiny, screeching vocals into a very catchy chorus hook. This song was a true showcase of what was to come from this band with later releases. And, while Siva is a good song, Billy Corgan's vocals are a bit too disjointed from the music and the song isn't very catchy. The typical Pumpkins charm is aplenty in this song, but the song feels like a typical grunge chart-topper. The best song on Gish comes in at track number three, as Rhinocerous is slower, but ever yet as powerful as a slower Pumpkins epic. Its in the class with Drown and Disarm. The song is especially atmospheric and the lyrics are deep and thought-provoking. The song is my favorite off of Gish easily; if not my favorite Pumpkins song of the era.

But as the album clicks along, it loses a bit of its luster as Bury Me is a bit bland, too hard, and the typical atmospheric charm that Smashing Pumpkins are known for is gone because the song doesn't really ever breakdown until the end; which is littered with feedback but manages to turn it into a great introduction into another slower Pumpkins ballad-type song called Crush, which is actually pretty good; especially for the immaturity of the Pumpkins at this time. The acoustic guitar in this song mixed with the echoing electronic guitar twinges make this song another great one off of Gish. Suffer is mediocre at best as the song rehashes the same sounds and effects used on Gish over and over; as the song sounds a lot like Rhinocerous. Snail is rather catchy, simple, and addicting. The guitar work is about as close to Siamese Dream as the album gets while the music retains the typical Gish charm. Tristessa is another plain-out rocker that's a bit too familiar as it sounds a lot like I Am One. Window Paine begins like a mood-setting atmospheric track like Rhinocerous but picks up into a darker, louder, and heavy climax. Day Dream is like a psychedelic, ballad sung by D'Arcy Wretzky that manages to be mood-setting and epic because of her wonderfully soothing singing and the violins in the song. But by the end, the hidden song is a bit mediocre as Billy Corgan's voice is distorted a bit too much and the special keyboard/synthesizer effects are all too old and overused.

After listening to Gish it is apparent that this the Pumpkins introducing themselves to the world; and its best to keep this in mind because Gish isn't perfect by any stretch of imagination, but the groundwork for future classics. And while their sound isn't perfected, the atmosphere is still there and it still feels like a Pumpkins record. Songs like I Am One, Rhinocerous, and Crush are all great. So, to all Pumpkins fans; this is a call to pick up the Pumpkins' debut record Gish as soon as possible.

I Am One
Day Dream

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 15th 2007


I've only hear Rotten Apple by the Pumpkins, so I'm a bit of a loser. But this is a good review.This Message Edited On 07.15.07

July 15th 2007


Oh, boy someone needs to get your hands on Siamese Dream really quick.

July 15th 2007


Hear that Fort? Someone needs to get your hands on it. Kinky.

I think this is your best review, but even then, it's kinda hard to get through. Almost all of your others make me think you really don't know what you're talking about. You probably shouldn't write so much so often.

July 15th 2007


Well I'm sorry but most people and the moderators really don't have any problems with my reviews. That's why I got my Approved status; and most of my reviews aren't really negged outside of a few.

July 15th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review as always, but I have to say you're on absolute overdrive at the moment - well, I've got my year gap now so I might as well do a few myself.

I agree on most of the points you made, it wasn't until Siamese Dream when Billy started layer up to 50 tracks of guitar parts. I do love a bit of the fuzz.

Oh and by the way, I thought Siva was the best on the album! But that's me :pThis Message Edited On 07.15.07

July 15th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

I think it's a very fair review. I love the Pumpkins, and I agree that Gish is good, but not superb. If you asked me to list, say, my favourite 25 Pumpkins songs, I think "Rhinocerous" is the only Gish song that I'd include. Aside from that track, the harder rock songs are the best parts of the album - "Siva", "Bury Me", "Tristessa" and my favourite of the four, "I Am One". The whole album is worth a listen for ardent fans, but for the not so zealous, I'd only recommend "Crush" in addition to the aforementioned songs. It's quite a leap from Gish to Siamese Dream. That's not to say Gish isn't good, it's just that SD is incredible!

July 15th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I disagree though, this album is excellent.

July 15th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, better than your Machina one.

July 15th 2007


You probably shouldn't write so much so often.
And how would he go about improving?

I'll read this in a sec.

EDIT: Great review, pos'd.This Message Edited On 07.15.07

July 15th 2007


I think I finally figured out the format I want to use from now on. The format I used with Machina makes my reviews way too vague.

July 15th 2007


And how would he go about improving?

Oh no I'm in a corner.
He has said in the comments of his White Stripes - Icky Thump review that
Most of my reviews are written in 20 minutes

This is not taken out of context and I've noticed that much of his writing is very repetitive, uninformed, and simplistic. I have concluded that if he puts more effort into his writing, he can greatly improve because he certainly demonstrates that he can put together a review with little difficulty. Quality over quantity.
He's also said in his comments for his Nickelback review:
Well, I'm taking some time off maybe it'll inspire a bit more creativity because literally, my last 3 reviews have been piss poor.

So, he may consider my advice, although he ended up taking a 0 day break and writing a good Rush review the same day. I've been following his writing for a while now, and I've noticed that improvement is not his middle name.
As far as questioning his musical integrity, I highlight his argument with Iai about Era Vulgaris, and his infinitely famous line:
For god sakes even Pitchfork liked this album.

I'm done, I have nothing against him, and I wish him the best toward improving his writing.This Message Edited On 07.15.07

July 15th 2007


Who care's if it says your a contributer, or don't use that against him. Descendents1 can easily have that title and writes just as good as many here. He's just trying to help anyway. Plus he reviews mostly what doesn't alreayd have a bunch already there, which I think is the best way of 'contributing'.

and uh...good album btw.This Message Edited On 07.15.07

Digging: Iron Chic - You Can't Stay Here

July 15th 2007


This album is alot better than a 3.

But by all means a very well written review. Well done.

July 16th 2007


good album, but your review seems like an incognito track-by-track. try something different than giving us a history/summation of the band for your introduction as well... the majority of us either know already, or don't care

Two-Headed Boy
July 16th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Great album.

July 16th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is the only Smashing Pumpkins album I don't have, besides that "best of" album crap.

WTF!?! I don't remember rating this!?!This Message Edited On 07.16.07

July 16th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Double post, sorry.This Message Edited On 07.16.07

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