Back in the nineties, the Smashing Pumpkins’ produced the albums Gish, Siamese Dream, Mellon collie, and Adore. These albums showed off some of the finest indie rock sounds ever heard, full of passion and emotion they managed to speak en masse to many feeling depressed and isolated around the world. The band’s latest album, not so much!
The opening track, Tiberius, has the bulk of the musical elements found on Gish. However this time round it feels like Billy Corgin is just going through the motions and making the music almost in his sleep. As a result the song ends up being quite dull sending me to sleep.
The album’s first single, Being Beige, is an unintentional description of its sound in general! The overdose of synth sounds paired with Corgan’s apathetic vocal delivery makes more something that is either a bland excuse of alternate rock or a not particularly poppy pop tune.
Next comes the attempted “rock anthem” Anaise! The mix of heavy riffs and quite cheese synth sounds makes for something that just doesn’t work, like having bacon and salmon on the same sandwich!
One and all (we are) shows some glimpse of the great indie rock sounds with a big guitar overload creating a thick grungy atmosphere. Meanwhile Drum and Fife has the melodic prowess that the Pumpkins have been known and loved for mixed well with great energy and a folk-esq twist.
Sadly it’s down hill from there with the horribly plastic ear bleeding sounds of Monuments and the grossly overproduced Dorian sounding like a reject single from the eighties.
It may be a touch harsh to flat out say this is a bad record, but really it’s nothing great and no where near the magic that was put out when D’Arcy and James were part of the band. There are some elements of the classics of the past but in the end the Smashing Pumpkins have effectively become their own tribute band!