This is Billy Corgan and co’s tenth album, and his third full length since their return in 2007. At this stage the band is Billy Corgan plus supporting cast, which this time includes Tommy Lee of Motley Crue on drums. The first thing to notice is its brevity, nine tracks over 32 minutes. That’s a quarter of the length of their mid-nineties opus, Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness!
Tiberius sets the tone, it’s a quintessential Pumpkins track, twinkly and proggy at the same time with heavy riffs. Being Beige is the most ‘radio-friendly’ thing here, a catchy melody with Corgan channelling their classic 1979 vibe. Elsewhere, Drum + Fife is SP indie-pop, with a catchy singalong chorus, and there’s very little wrong with that. Where they fall down is in their need to sound ‘current’, the strident Anaise! could almost be Queen save for the weird electronic touches, which are realised in full on the pseudo-U2 Run2Me.
Much better is One And All, which has a monumental (sorry) riff which powers along for the duration of the song, and it’s up there with the best of their heavier moments. Monuments sticks the head down and rocks out, though it’s a shame they threw in wibbly electronic bits while the hard-riffing Anti-Hero is almost metal, finishing the album with a heavier edge. So it seems this really is The Smashing Pumpkins‘ pop album, cramming in catchy melodies which don’t outstay their welcome in just over half an hour, though many tracks end up sounding a little disposable and ultimately not that memorable.
2. Being Beige
4. One And All (We Are)
6. Drum + Fife