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Aural Pleasure Review

Smashing Pumpkins: 'Pisces Iscariot (Reissue)'

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It used to be so easy for Billy Corgan. Back before the endless line-up changes, the failed stylistic shifts, and embarrassing public outbursts, there was a time when his band ruled the world one angst-ridden edict at a time. And though it's not the Corgan's best record by any stretch, Pisces Iscariot defines the Smashing Pumpkins' early-'90s invincibility better than anything else in their catalog. Originally intended as a hold-over while Corgan obsessed over his masterpiece Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the unlikely Iscariot grew into something more, spawning a hit single (a Stevie Nicks cover at that) and platinum status in the process. Not that this was a total fluke. After all, Corgan and crew were so shit-hot in '94 that even their B-sides outstripped most of their peers' best material (the incendiary "Hello Kitty Cat" and the delicate "Obscured" being glaring examples). Now Iscariot has been given the full reissue treatment, complete with the addition of 17 unreleased tracks and availability on any format your heart may desire (yes, even cassette). While a release featuring bonus material from an album that was bonus material to being with, is, well, patently ridiculous, Iscariot, in any form, has enough tossed-off brilliance to command attention.

★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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