Monday, 18 June 2012

Great Pumpkins

It is five years, more or less, since Eyewear last reviewed a Smashing Pumpkins album here.  Last time, it was Zeitgeist, and I raved and gushed.  It was a sort of Second Smashing.  Now here comes Mr. Corgan, apparently armed with the same portentous ego and nasal imperatives, and a bunch of new cronies, to give us, this day, Oceania, presumably named after one of the superstates at war in Orwell's novel.  Depending on where you stand, this new LP is either an imposition similar to being boxed about the ears by an immature giant, or a wonderful greatest day ever.

I am of the latter camp, more or less.  I am a fan of Corgan.  I don't see through his soaring bluster and corny ambitons, his roaring guitar riffs and drum beats stolen from West point, via Queen's Flash Gordon soundtrack.  No, I always bought the semi-camp leap of faith required, the adrenalin buzz, the bloodrush, the nonsensical zoom of Smashing Pumpkins, the stately plumpness of its gall.  For what they stood for was Indie Greatness.  The possibility that adenoidal gangly freaks in their 20s could storm the stage and be majestic.  It was genre trouble, genre as performance.  Now, they broke up, reformed, quasi-regrouped, and basically were last amazing in the last century, around 17 years ago.  That's almost like being Depeche Mode.

But I am naive and loyal and religious when it comes to indie bands I adore.  I still carry a torch for Simple Minds, after all.  So, what to say about this album?  Is the sound oceanic?  Of course.  It sounds just like they should.  It hasn't broken what wasn't fixed.  It keeps the sprawl and fuzz, the grand gestures, and mostly, the underlining message/vision of all the songs, the sexy megalomaniacal demonism central to all great pop/rock: that the frontman is a messiah, and that they are there for you, hold on, they are coming (for/with you).  These lyrics are here again.  Billy is yours, he longs for you, believe in him.  Suffer with him.  Be tall and thin and spookily alternative with him.  Be 90s with him.  Swoon.  I think it's a good album - it may be a classic.  I am not sure yet; I am still listening.  I'll say more later.  But "I'll kiss anyone tonight" is a good line.
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