Release Date: Sep 17, 2012
Record label: The End
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
James Iha's 2012 album Look to the Sky is the former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist's long-awaited follow-up to his 1998 debut, Let It Come Down. On his previous effort, Iha revealed a passion for '60s-influenced melodic folk and '70s-sounding soft rock. While those aural touchstones are still the core of Iha's solo work, here he delves into some light electronic flourishes that add a kind of low-key take on '80s new wave and goth.
When James Iha released his solo debut in 1998 entitled Let It Come Down, most Pumpkins fans (of whom the majority of his audience was comprised) were expecting it to come down—but in that fun altnerna-rock kind of way. Many anticipated a more precise and focused sound that the Pumpkins (at the time in the height of their popularity) were famous for. Instead it all came down in a completely separate and more confounding manner.
Yeah, him: the guitarist who co-founded The Smashing Pumpkins with Billy Corgan in 1987, left in 2000, and is now a solo artist. ‘Look To The Sky’ is the long-time-coming follow-up to the 44-year-old’s 1998 debut ‘Let It Come Down’, and features some almost exciting guest spots. Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O provides backing vocals on the electro-throb of ‘Waves’, but you wouldn’t know she was there unless someone told you.
It's been over a decade since both Billy Corgan and James Iha could call themselves members of the Smashing Pumpkins, and now they've finally got something else in common: It's 2012 and they're both sorta acting like it's still 1998. Yet this tenuous link becomes an exception that proves the rule. While Corgan is still airing out grudges and resentments against any and all bands that ticked him off and fans who had the gall to stop buying his records after Adore, Iha is calmly going about the business of releasing what sounds like a logical follow-up to Let It Come Down, his solo record which celebrated its 14th birthday this year.
It’s been 15 years since James Iha’s last solo album, 1998’s ‘Let It Come Down’. Back then, he was still a part of the Smashing Pumpkins, arguably the biggest alternative rock band in the world at that point. Following the Pumpkins’ split in 2000, Iha has embarked on a rather more low-key career, content to contribute to several extra curricular projects, namely joining post-rock band A Perfect Circle.