February 13, 1998, 12:00 am [LICD Review] The Patriot Ledger
Source: The Patriot Ledger
CD reviews Fruitful solo debut from Pumpkin guitarist; [Run Of Paper Edition]
Mick Skidmore. The Patriot Ledger. Quincy, Mass.: Feb 13, 1998. pg. 19
LET IT COME DOWN, James Iha (Virgin)
The solo debut by James Iha, the Smashing Pumpkins guitarist, is a really pleasant surprise, and quite different from what one might expect given his raucous musings with the aforementioned band. The richly melodic opening cut "Be Strong Now" might make you think of '70s folk-rocker Al Stewart, though Iha has a decidedly more '90s feel, musically.
He also has a keen sense for melody and harmony. The emphasis is on finely crafted songs rather than flash, and Iha plays with taste and precision.
He creates some nice multi-layered textures, but overall the production is uncluttered, giving the album a warm and friendly ambiance. The extensive use of strings is particularly effective, especially on the Beatlesque "Silver String" and "Winter."
In "Sound of Love" the sweet pedal steel playing of Greg Leisz underscores Iha's plaintive vocal. A little more upbeat but equally rich in melody is "Beauty,' which has a jangling Byrds feel and an alluring hook as well as harmonies from Veruca Salt's Nina Gordon.
Also notable among the slew of artists helping Iha out is singer-songwriter Neal Casal.
Credit: Mick Skidmore