Whilst the Smashing Pumpkins debut album Gish piggybacked on Nirvana’s Nevermind as fans sought similar material in 1991 it was the bands second album Siamese Dream that would mark their real arrival. Not only did it mark their arrival, it’s the bands best album.
Preceding Nirvana’s In Utero by almost two months Siamese Dream moved things forward and arguably expanded the alternative genre. Siamese Dream is not just Grunge. It is dreamlike and shows that Shoegazing could have a superstar outlet. Near Bluesy Heavy Metal.
All the songs are written by Billy Corgan (two are co-written by James Iha) and mark his arrival a great songwriter.
Cherub Rock with its bluesy grunge twist is a fantastic album opener. Immediately you take the band seriously, good name or not, this is the real deal. Bitch Vig’s production is more muddy than on Nevermind – it works.
Quiet is heavy but the track is not bogged down at all. The instruments and vocal fly away from the buzz of the overall sound.
Today screams out hit single. A delicate hook is pulled immediately into a swirl of sound. It abates only to explode into the sound of an alternative anthem.
Hummer with its Eastern vibe offers wider experimentation. Then that lock of buzz as it kilters off in a new direction. Ambitious.
Then the drone and shimmer of Rocket. Vocal and guitars buzz away and hairs may flex. Siamese Dream is maintaining outstanding quality. It builds to a heavy climax.
Disarm is not only the best track on the album – it’s the best song the Smashing Pumpkins ever have released. Evocative and dark the song was practically banned from the U.K. airwaves due to its unclear subject matter (abortion?).
Soma increses the dreamlike qualities. Soft. Lenghty. Halfway through the track explodes into a much heavier take of the opening segment.
Geek USA is faster. Much faster. The band rattle through gears and always maintain their own sound.
Mayonaise is an epic. It too follows a formula of quiet intro exploding into layered dense sound.
Spaceboy hints at the orchestration the band would use much more on their later material.
Silverfuck is another long track pulled off with real verve. Its build develops into pure sonic attack. A long lull for its middle period before checking itself and zooming off again. Outstanding.
Sweet Sweet is the shortest song on Siamese Dream. It serves as an alternative lullaby.
Luna closes the LP. It never gets out of 2nd gear but that hardly matters.
Siamese Dream is an album the band could never better but established them as an accessible alternative outfit that would release many very good albums. As grunge phased out and Nirvana showed real strain in the spotlight the Smashing Pumpkins were well placed for many, many reasons…