Tuesday, 3 July 2012
REVIEW: THE SMASHING PUMPKINS: OCEANIA
If you where a teenager in the nighties-an eighties baby now staring down the barrel of your thirties-you'll know The Smashing Pumpkins as the best band in the world. The band that released iconic, classic albums of the golden era like 'Siamese Dream' and 'Adore' really paved the way for themselves and 99% of the bands you hear today. Still it was the double-album classic 'Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness' that became the angst-ridden soundtrack for a post-Nirvana, pre-everything else sounding watered down, tormented and tortured youth. It doesn't get much better than that. Still in between break-ups and bust ups this iconic group have come back strong in the new millennium of new music, most notably with their 'Zeitgeist' album.
Since 2009, the Pumpkins have been releasing their epic 44 track album (and it's separate E.P.'s) 'Teargarden by Kaleidyscope', gracefully for free via the Internet. With incredible songs like 'Widow Wake My Mind' and 'A Song For A Son' the group have kept their classic catalogue growing by the Dylan-esque songbook volumes. Now in the middle of all this comes their dubbed "album within an album". 'Oceania' is one of their first and best real releases in years. As vastly remote and beautiful as the album artwork, this musical landscape is deep, dark and decedent. Guitarist Jeff Schroeder said Smashing wanted to make music that hit people on "an emotional level" with this one. It's hard to not be moved by that or this.
'Oceania' kicks off with the lightening strike of the illuminating 'Quasar'. that back to back with the fellow Gibson heavy 'Panopticon' make us hear that this band are back and as bold as ever. Echoing the nostalgic sounds of the 1990'2 and almost taking us back to their heyday. The acoustic and orchestral single 'The Celestials' takes it lighter but higher with boundless beauty. "Never let the summer catch you down/Never let your thoughts run free/Even when their numbers draw you out/Everything I want is free" Corgan sings in his signature, sublime style.
It gets even more beautiful when the vividly stunning 'Violet Rays' hit. Yet again on a slower note the band that gave us 'Disarm' and 'By Starlight' reach even greater depths of beauty. As Billy sings "Raised from the path of revelry/Spells fall frail/Webs catching sail/In eternal eternities/Divine purpose catching free". he's rarely wrote better. 'My Love Is Winter' is a seasonal force of devotion that will last longer than this fall. Wile 'One Diamond, One Heart' lays all the cards out on the table.
Revealing all the band play even more great hands. The kinetic 'Pinwheel's keeps this C.D. turning beautifully. It gets even deeper and better on the album title track 'Oceania' which sounds like the dark night-time drive music that could find itself on Billy Corgan's vastly underrated solo project 'The Future Embrace'. 'Pale Horse' and 'The Chimera' and 'Glissandra' are the kind of tracks that will be welcome with open arms by old and news fans alike. While 'Inkless' tattoo's this bands signature sound back into the mainstream charts and consciousness. Corgan and his Pumpkins save the best for last with the 'Wildflower'. This band is black in bloom and don't look ready to wilt soon. 'Oceania' like the islands on the tropical Pacific Ocean is vast beautiful and something that needs to be discovered. The 44 track chasing bands discography just got better. TIM DAVID HARVEY.