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When a band decides to reunite (at least in name) after a significant amount of time, there is always some skepticism that the band will simply be rehashing old material, will not be able to recapture what they originally had, or even that the reunion will not even take place due to the whatever strife originally split the band in the first place.
As I've written in previous posts on the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll, I am quite excited to see the Smashing Pumpkins reuniting (they are one of my favorite bands of all time), but in the back of my mind I always had that slight doubt that maybe it wouldn't happen or maybe it would end up just being a rehash. Well, just the other day I caught a sneak peak listen to the new Smashing Pumpkins single and although it won't be until I hear the entire album that I'll make my decision as to whether I think the band has truly returned triumphantly, the single looks like a good indication that they are back to rock.
The new single, called "Tarantula," definitely is a Smashing Pumpkins song and a rock song. It has a thick driving hard rock riff that hearkens back to the earlier Pumpkins sound, but the lyrics and vocal style seems more akin to Billy Corgan's later songwriting, or have a lot of that feel to them. The chorus especially hints at the Machina â€“ The Machines of God (nix the over processing) and Zwan eras, with is more uplifting feel than the early grunge and proto punk Pumpkins. Still, don't think that this song doesn't rock as is definitely sounds like some of that hard edge arena rock that is characteristic of the Pumpkins. It has a bit of a progressive feel in its guitar work and as always, Jimmy Chamberlin shows us why he is one of the best drummers in rock and roll with some great pounding drum work when necessary. Also, if you're like me and feel that the guitar leads from this band were often the best part and a little underrated, I think you'll enjoy some of the lead work on this song as it sounds pretty screaming and pushes the song just a little bit harder. As a whole, I think represents a bit of a blend between the classic era Pumpkins, and their later work (but not Adore really), but breaks some new ground as well showing some definite growth.
Overall, it's catchy and has a great riff with that slight haunting quality that was always a part of the bands music, but above all, I think it rocks. I am glad that the band didn't choose to come back with a lighter first single because for people who might not have been around when the band was popular the first time, this is a great reminder that the Smashing Pumpkins above all, were and are a rock band.
The only version of this song I've heard so far is a radio rip, so the quality wasn't spectacular making it hard to get an exact representation of the sound. Only time will tell if the new album will fall short of the rest of the Pumpkins catalog without James Iha and D'Arcy, but this song seems like a good representation that the Pumpkins will rock without them.
I can't wait to hear the new album and hear more of what the band sounds like now after all these years.
If you're a Smashing Pumpkins fan like I am, make sure to keep an ear open for the new single "Tarantula" coming to major radio release soon and see what you think. I think it's great and am looking forward to the full album.
If you really can't wait, check out the radio rip here from Little Radio (if it's still available). It is of decent quality, but not spectacular: http://www.littleradio.com/feeds/downloads/view/1210
You can also check out the new album art at the Smashing Pumpkins website: http://www.smashingpumpkins.com/#
And read more information on the band's Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/smashingpumpkins