Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

April 9, 2011

James Iha ~ Let It Come Down

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Style: folk rock
Label: Virgin Records
Year: 1998
Home: n/a

Members: James Iha ~ vocals/guitars/bass

Neal Casal ~ guitar/b. vocals
Greg Leisz ~ lap steel guitar/guitars/bass
Adam Schlesinger ~ piano/bass
Solomon Snyder - bass
John Ginty ~ keyboards
Matt Walker ~ drums
Curt Bisquera ~ percussion
Eric Remschneider ~ cello
James Sanders, Stacia Spencer ~ violin
Jim Goodwin ~ sax
Ralph Rickert ~ trumpet
Nina Gordon, Tonya Lamm, Shawn Barton ~ b. vocals

Guest: D'arcy Wretzky ~ b. vocals

Few will probably come to Let It Come Down, the only solo album by guitarist James Iha, expecting something along the lines of his former, though at the time current, band the Smashing Pumpkins. As for those few who don't know that the the sound of the Pumpkins is largely dominated by frontman Billy Corgan, even if Iha is a co-founder ... don't expect Pumpkins Mach II on this release, or any any over-the-top smashing of any sort ... instead expect James Iha - the famed 'quiet one' of the Pumpkins who has more to share than ever allowed. Yes, one might be getting deja vu with another famed quiet one George Harrison. Any comparison would be accurate. While Lennon-McCartney wanted to write pop love songs, Harrison leaned toward self-questioning somber spiritual tunes using basic instrumentation. Iha does similiar here. While, instead of the dark distorted angst of Pumpkins Iha creates a soft acoustic session that never would be possible with the Pumpkins. While bandmate Corgan tends to go for a progressive edge Iha aims for the folk music of Wilco or any of the folk rock bands where tender ballads with simple but memorable lines take dominance over fancy playing. If music could be called quiet, & that is quiet in a sense not in reference to volume, this is quiet music. There's no loud guitar solos & Iha isn't the greatest singer but his voice is perfect for the context he's created of a small ensemble of strings, repeated acoustic patterns, piano & generally light drumming. Let It Come Down sneaks up on the listener with its seemingly homespun appeal that is probably one of the least pretentious albums you've probably heard in a while with numerous standout tracks. Actually, one distant relative in sound & feeling is George Harrison's final outing Brainwashed, deja vu once again, even brought home on "Country Girl" that sounds like John Lennon is on vocals. In line with Harrison these aren't songs of social strife but of personal reflections ... they're love songs of hope & complacency ... both albums are modest little affairs that won't be rocking up the charts & are completely under-played by their more than competant creators but are comforting hours for a rainy night in the same way one might turn to a Paul Simon album ... & both are under-rated affairs that you very well might have missed when they hit the shelves but not through any fault of the music.

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