Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania

This is a bit tricky one. Tricky because 1) It’s hard to keep up with this band’s revolving door lineup (The current lineup consists of Corgan, Jeff Schroeder (guitar), Nicole Fiorentino (bass) and Mike Byrne on drums) 2) web of a back catalog and 3) Billy Corgan himself is a very dodgy fellow with press, saying some conceited and obscene remarks. Just recently he bashed Radiohead and called some of his band mates some derogatory things. That being said, I actually thought that this was a pretty good album. It seemed like Corgan was loosing touch with himself musically recently (especially on 2007’s Zeitgeist) and I thought that he gained most of it back on this record. I also felt like the band backing him work well together and it wasn’t just Billy Corgan and friends like some of the past lineups.¬†The band are solid and in some instances rival the old lineups.

Exerting a new authority, Corgan is actually writing songs on this record, which he hasn’t done in a while. I thought “Quasar” was a great tune and other songs like “The Celestial” prove that Corgan is able to get the depth in his lyrics like in his famous songs of the past. Even though some of the lyrics themselves are cheesy, he delivers them in the classic Smashing Pumpkins way where the hooks and the delivery dress up the fact that the lyric may be a big slice of cheese. “Pale Horse” is also a fantastic tune and moat of the songs here overall try to hark back to the days of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness or Siamese Dreams.

This album creates a happy medium between the past and how the band are trying to push forward in the future. Although this album should have come out five years ago, it’s still incredibly strong and I personally enjoyed it quite a lot. I think a casual Smashing Pumpkins fan or even the biggest fan will be able to get a lot out of this record too. Corgan sculpts a fine and delicate adventure for us in Oceania and is definitely worth checking out.

Luke Helker

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