Not A Zero in Quality, Though
Samhot | Star Land | 03/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Smashing Pumpkins always made quality music that made the final cut, in regards to their studio albums. But, what's more astounding is the quality of the music that never made the studio albums; you know, the tracks that either got tacked on as B-sides, or, were just not released at all. These B-sides to the _Zero_ single are *no* exception to this rule, as these are some of the best things The Smashing Pumpkins have ever made, and they have made *tons* of stunning stuff.
Like the other B-side-filled EP's deriving from the _Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness_ album, each start off with the track of the single, then are followed by the B-sides. "Zero" is a raging anthem. Likewise, the rest of the EP -- with the exception of the melodic alt-pop of "Pennies" -- shows off the Pumpkins' overdriven, distortion-filled rock. "God" is a perfect example of this; the verses are soft, while the chorus rages with an intense, overdriven madness that was the Pumpkins' niche. "Mouths of Babes" features a tasteful riff on the pentatonic (in descending mode) that opens the track, and eventually closes it off (and is repeated, but the key is changed in the final motif, before the track cuts off.) "Tribute to Johnny" is a fusionesque metal instrumental; a little bit of funk, a little bit of jazz, and loads of distortion. Perfectly shows just how talented and diverse these pumpkins were. It's tasteful and chewy as well, while "Marquis in Spades" is a more plodding, but equally heavy, well-distorted number. "Pennies" gives you a breather from all of the distortion of past, and leads into the very interesting (to say the least) "Pastichio Medley." This is a 23-minute smorgasbord of spliced-together riffs taken from dozens of Pumpkins' songs that were either unfinished, or just plain unreleased. The overdriven extremeties that were so common to The Pumpkins' niche are here, indeed, but there are also moments of quiet to be found, and the occasional vocal.
Case and point: if you are a diehard Pumpkinhead (like myself; The Pumpkins are my top favorite when it comes to the "alternative" bands from the '90s scene), you will *not* want to be without this single, or the others that came from the _Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness_ sessions. If you are lucky enough to own _The Aeroplane Flies High_ boxed set (the complete, _Mellon Collie_-derived singles/EP's in one boxed set, and with a booklet of complete lyrics, photos, etc.) then you will already own this single. Recommended indefinitely."