"Pumpkins' Iha incredibly mellow"
By JANE STEVENSON
Iha, the striking-looking guitarist normally in the shadow of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, strikes out on his own with this incredibly laid-back and mellow collection of pretty love songs, in stores Tuesday.
Anyway, if you're on board with the Al Green-meets-George Harrison sound of Iha's voice -- he's actually more in key than Corgan -- it's a more than decent solo debut, with the resulting melodic folk-pop strangely reminiscent of albums you'd hear on FM radio in the '70s.
Working with producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Robbie Robertson, Whiskeytown), Iha also calls in a few favors, seeming to prefer harmonies with female singers.
There's Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt singing backup on one of the album's standout tracks, "Beauty," and Smashing Pumpkins bassist D'arcy on "One and Two." On the latter song, you can't help but wonder if Iha's writing about his previous relationship with D'arcy as he sings: "Is it okay if I runaway, is it okay when your love has faded away."
There's more intensity in songs like the upbeat "Jealousy" and the more direct "Lover Lover," "Silver String," enhanced by the viola playing of Stacia Spencer, and "Winter," but nothing even gets close to the wattage power of Pumpkins material.
Don't expect it. And hopefully, you won't be disappointed.