Review: The Smashing Pumpkins–Earphobia

by Matt Edwards

The latest “release” from the defunct Smashing Pumpkins is not really a release at all, but merely the soundtrack from their first home video that was released in 1994, and it is only recommended for purchase by the die-hard Pumpkins fan.

While the disc is essentially live or extended cuts, don’t be fooled into thinking that it spans the Pumpkins entire career. The disc really only represents the band during the early ’90s.

Entitled “Earphoria,” it is the audio companion to the Smashing Pumpkins home video, “Viewphoria’. Both were originally released in 1994, but “Earphoria” was only available unofficially and limitedly. With the recent re-release of “Viewphoria” for DVD, Virgin Records decided it would be a good time to officially release “Earphoria”.

The disc does offer several interesting variations on some of the early Pumpkin classics.

Most notably is the electric version of “Disarm”. This song was originally recorded acoustically, and the heavy guitar riffs do add quite a bit of interesting sharpness to this formerly mellow song.

Also included is a great live cut of “Today,” taken from a concert in the Pumpkins home town of Chicago in 1993. If you have had the luck of attending one their shows, this track is sure to get the hair on the back of your neck standing up.

On the acoustic side of things, versions of “Cherub Rock” and “Mayonaise” offer an enjoyable change of pace.

Lead singer Billy Corgan’s stirring vocals and improvisations on “Cherub Rock” are a stark reminder of the kind of appeal that led to the Pumpkins strong fan base, one that continued even after the band’s break-up several years ago.

However, some tracks of “Earphoria” offer little change from what the original recordings sounded like, while others are simply extended versions that drag on.

In its original form, “I Am One” is an excellent song, but on this release it’s more of a eight minute rendition with Corgan throwing in some profanity.

Several b-sides and rarities are included, and they are an excellent addition for the collector or serious fan.

“Earphoria” does have a couple gems, but it probably isn’t enough to merit purchase by the casual fan.

Only the true Pumpkin Heads out there should rush out and buy this one.

Three stars on a five star scale – five being the best.