.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/b8118ee6f33f9feff57bd97a9812a4c2ea3563e0.png Pisces Iscariot

Smashing Pumpkins

Pisces Iscariot

Virgin
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
December 1, 1994

Record companies have been going to ever more cynical lengths to squeeze as much product as they can out of their successful acts. From pointless MTV Unplugged sets (like Arrested Development's low-voltage remake of their first album) to box sets for acts whose greatest hits could fit on a 45 (was anyone really waiting for the Split Enz box?), it's enough to make you wonder if anyone has heard the word overexposure.

So you couldn't be blamed if you thought that an album of Smashing Pumpkins "rarities" and B sides was just a rip-off. But Pisces Iscariot doesn't really sound like the compilation of rejects it actually is. In fact, it's better than a lot of albums that bands labored hard to put together.

Although definitely not the Pumpkins' best album, it's more varied, if less cohesive, than Gish or Siamese Dream. "Blue," "Hello Kitty Kat" and "Plume" (with some of Billy Corgan's best slacker-ennui lyrics) feature the Pumpkins' trademark bombastic fuzz barrage and wouldn't sound out of place on either of those albums. An 11-minute Day-Glo epic ("Starla") and "Girl Named Sandoz" (an Animals cover) mine their psychedelic roots.

But the truly interesting cuts are the mostly acoustic ballads that show a different side of Corgan. At the risk of giving the band Unplugged ideas, it must be said that ballads like "Soothe," "Blew Away" and "La Dolly Vita" amply show off Corgan's songwriting talents. And "Landslide," a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song, sounds so faithful to the original, you can almost see Corgan spinning around, wearing a great big shawl as he sings. Still, if it isn't too much trouble, it would be nice if the band eventually went into the studio and recorded a real album.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Road to Nowhere”

    Talking Heads | 1985

    A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com