James Iha's songcrafting best represents an antidote to the tortured muse of his notoriously megalomanical bandmate in the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan. (See Corgan-penned lyrics like "I am still just a rat in a cage" for evidence of torture.) Iha's debut solo effort is a pleasant surprise in folkie experimentation. Where the thrust of Corgan's songwriting stands at the threshold of apocalyptic release, Iha's vision is a quiet gaze of nurturing, reserved nostalgia layered with acoustic instruments and loopy string progressions.
Much of "Let It Come Down" is structurally related to the more subdued moments of the Smashing Pumpkins' most recent recordings. "Be Strong Now," the first single, strides with the feel-good vibe of a '70s teen-movie soundtrack. The album's closer, "No One's Gonna Hurt You," owes more to the mellowness of Me-Decade popsters Bread than it does to anything released in their wake. While the magic winding through the rest of the album seems to ebb and flow inoffensively, it's all delivered with welcome, if unexpected, benevolence.
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