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[LICD Review] Times Union
February 18, 1998, 11:00 pm

Source: Times Union

Times Union. Albany, N.Y.: Feb 19, 1998. pg. P.27

ROCK "Let It Come Down." James Iha. (Virgin):

On his solo debut, Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha boldly eschews the sweeping, psychotropic guitar rock and grunge gestalt the Pumpkins have spun into alterna-rock gold. Instead, he opts for a collection of strummy, sunny, long songs that hark backto the '70s Southern California soft rock of the Eagles, James Taylor and Jackson Browne -- ironically, the sort of graying minstrels that Iha and his band mates rendered irrelevant.

Iha is in possession of a serviceable voice, somewhere between John Lennon's tuneful rasp and Al Stewart's, circa "Year of the Cat." But by pushing the vocals up in the mix, producer Jim Scott puts an unfortunate emphasis on the lyrics, which are steeped in vapid love-song cliches.

Ultimately, "Let It Come Down" is an album of pleasant surfaces with no center. We learn nothing about the lovers Iha addresses -- except that, you know, he really loves them -- and even less about Iha himself. Open-faced pop songs like this need some kind of emotional core, and all that Iha offers is Hallmark banalities as blank as his trademark stare.

-- Jonathan Valania, Knight-Ridder COUNTRY/ROOTS

Credit: Jonathan Valania