|[LICD Review] SPIN Magazine|
|January 31, 1998, 11:00 pm|
Source: SPIN Magazine
SPIN Magazine. February 1998. [No Day]
Given the seemlingly endless parade of tribulations that Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha has endured in recent years--former drummer Jimmy Chamberlin's drug woes, the fatal overdose of keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin, playing second fiddle to a renowned megalomaniac--you'd think there'd be spleen aplenty on his first solo effort. But Let It Come Down is an unrelentingly cheery collection of bubblegum pop that harkens back to the Valium days of 70's AM radio. Exploring in his own words, "love and faith," Iha conjures up more fire and rain than James Taylor.
The cafe crowd may call this album "honest and mature"; everyone else will likely call it, "sappy and passe." Dreamily strumming cowboy chords on an acoustic guitar, and making moon-eyed professions of unflagging devotion, Iha is a knight in sensitive armor. "If I come and hold you now, you'll be safe and sound," he whispers lamely in his willowy alto on "Be Strong Now." Iha can make a chorus soar--"Sound of Love" might have been salvaged from the depths of the Mersey--and he's a competent folkie. He even imbues the head-nodding "Winter" with rich, droning textures that carry some emotional weight. Unfortunately, Iha spends most of his time toppling the fence between heartfelt and cloying. "In the morning light you'll lay by my side," he croons over swelling strings on "Beauty." A rock star like Iha obviously has no problem impressing the ladies, so why the musical personal ad?