Monday, December 05, 2011
The Smashing Pumpkins: Gish & Siamese Dream [Deluxe Editions]
The Smashing Pumpkins
Gish & Siamese Dream [Deluxe Editions]
EMI/Virgin Records 
(2 CD/1 DVD Sets)
Fire Note Says: Two great albums and two great reissues!
To me, Gish  and Siamese Dream  from The Smashing Pumpkins still feel like more recent releases so even the thought of having Deluxe Editions seems odd. With that said, after playing both of these records again at max volume it hits you quickly of how good they are and now, more so than before, I realize how both albums helped explode alternative nation onto the masses. Their debut Gish was front loaded with classics like "I Am One", "Siva" and "Rhinoceros", which was a new sound for the 1991 scene and today I think the record as a whole sounds more cohesive then it did then. Call it nostalgia or maybe it is like a fine wine but Gish, especially the last third, feels and sounds improved. The 18 track bonus disc enhances the Gish experience as it kicks off with a 2011 mix version of the epic eleven minute "Starla" and new mixes from Butch Vig of the Sub Pop singles for "Tristessa" and "La Dolly Vita". It is definitely more than just a grab bag of rarities, as you can tell actual work went into this reissue. The DVD includes a show the Pumpkins did at the Metro from 1990, which surprisingly shows the band well on its way to stardom even in this very early form.
Siamese Dream raised the bar and notoriety for The Smashing Pumpkins and its deluxe edition is even more rewarding than Gish, as the record sounds as stellar today as it did then. You can hear the remastering but probably not as much here as some other reissues because the original was actually quite good. What I think pops more here is the blistering guitar and drums out of songs that I don't remember hitting you like a wall with their absolute crispness and venom like they do on this reissue. This is why Siamese Dream was a staple of alternative rock and why the album is still so highly regarded today. The 18 track bonus disc here is also an excellent addition as it features the interesting instrumentals "U.S.A." and "U.S.S.R." and an apartment demo of "Luna" that I think has a greater impact compared to its studio version. Considering the band was in total dismay during the making of Siamese Dream it is still amazing how this record shines perfection today. The included DVD is great to watch compared to the earlier Gish show, as it is another show at the Metro now set in 1993 around the release of the album and you can really see how far the band progressed over the two years.
Both of these deluxe editions are worth your time and money, as they really do cover tons of new ground either in unreleased material, the concert DVDs, the stylistic packaging or the entertaining track-by-track annotations by Billy Corgan. They both sound great and now have rightly taken their place in rock history as albums that not only were unique to their time but have stood the test of it, as well as influced so many groups since those alternative rock heydays!
The Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist [Fire Note Review 7/12/07]
The Smashing Pumpkins Website
The Smashing Pumpkins Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony