Last year, Fruit Bats covered The Smashing Pumpkins‘ seminal sophomore album, Siamese Dream, in its entirety for the Sounds Delicious series. What was originally a physical-only release by the Eric D. Johnson-led outfit is now available across streaming services.
Since launching in 2017, the Sounds Delicious series has hosted such full-length covers as Death Cab For Cutie‘s Ben Gibbard covering Teenage Fanclub‘s Bandwagonesque, GEMS covering John Lennon‘s Imagine, and most recently Quivers taking on R.E.M.‘s Out Of Time, among many other releases. Fruit Bats meld right into the indie-meets-the-classics vibe as the group puts its signature dreamy-folk stylings on the alt-rock jewel that helped set the tone for an entire decade of music.
From the opening “Cherub Rock”, it’s clear that this is not your older brother’s Smashing Pumpkins. Instead, Johnson and company translate the razor-sharp angst of Billy Corgan‘s lyrics and overdrive-laden riffs of James Iha‘s guitar into something wholly original. That isn’t to say that Fruit Bats’ take on Siamese Dream is without edge, as the eerie softness melds with the biting lyricism to create an almost-ghostly feel of “it’s quiet, too quiet.”
Johnson said of the project,
In 1993, I was the prime age to be swept up in alternative radio. But truth be told, while I loved Nirvana and Jane’s Addiction, in my heart I was still secretly wearing a hole in my cassette copy of Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits 1974-78. Somehow, Smashing Pumpkins spoke to all sides of me—angsty on the surface but really filled with a kind of Midwest mysticism that spoke directly to my 17-year-old-kid-from-Illinois brain. It’s also the first tape I ever listened to while driving a long distance alone. I’m pretty sure my version of this album is based on subconscious memories of that drive. I played all the instruments on this. And no, of course I’m not going to be able to recreate Billy Corgan’s crushing, epic guitar tone. Nor could I dream of touching Jimmy Chamberlin’s floaty (yet ever-shredding) drumming. This version is all about hazy memories for me, and how Corgan’s brilliant pop hooks can travel through time and exist in any possible instrumental configuration.
Listen to Fruit Bats’ full-album re-creation of The Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream via the player below or on your preferred streaming platform.
Fruit Bats – Siamese Dream (The Smashing Pumpkins)