Aural Pleasure Review
The Smashing Pumpkins: 'Oceania'
Published: June 27, 2012
So Billy Corgan is kind of a head case. He's thrown insults at everyone from Radiohead to Pavement and filled in the Smashing Pumpkins with new faces after his old bandmates either refused to play with him or were told to fuck off. However, after 2007's overly angst-ridden Zeitgeist, the Pumpkins name was a punch line. Oceania is about to make everyone wish they'd been a little nicer to poor Billy. Opening track "Quasar" sounds like a lost track from 1991's Gish. Remnants of the '90s Pumpkins haunt Oceania like a fond memory of an old friend. Bassist Nicole Fiorentino's wispy backing vocals shore up Corgan's surprising but respectable delve into folk music in the consecutive "Pinwheels," "Oceania," and "Pale Horse." Corgan's lyrics have historically been hit-or-miss, but come across most genuine in the up-tempo "The Chimera," which is the point where this newest version of the Pumpkins seems most cohesive. Through much of Oceania, Corgan's trademark vocals have been soothed into a melodic croon, but album closer "Wildflower" has him hitting those octaves once again, fittingly wrapping what is easily Corgan's best work since the Pumpkins' heyday.
★★★★ (out of 5 stars)