The Smashing Pumpkins | Oceania

Martha's Music (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  June 19, 2012
4.0 4.0 Stars


Billy Corgan's ego alone has probably gone triple-platinum, and he's never been afraid of calling himself a genius (even while promoting skanky, mediocre albums like Machina and Zeitgeist). It's so easy to get distracted by his rock-tabloid caricature that you're forgiven for forgetting that, once upon a time, the guy was a musical genius: there hasn't been a better one-two punch in rock and roll since Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infiniite Sadness. On Oceania, the band's (unexpectedly) jaw-dropping ninth studio album (a stand-alone movement within the ongoing, song-at-a-time series Teargarden by Kaleidyscope), Corgan finally sounds comfortable being himself again — and that reinvigorated confidence results in the year's most outstanding rock album. Oceania is vintage Pumpkins given a modern sheen: it's more synth, less snarl; more hook than hodgepodge. On proggy epics like "Quasar" and "Panopticon," Corgan seems determined to remind the universe he's one of its greatest guitarists. He succeeds, with nuclear assaults of wah-wah and phaser igniting over Mike Byrne's snare-heavy blasts. "The Celestials" opens in a "Disarm"-esque acoustic shimmer before exploding into a trademark arena-goth chorus. "Don't let the summer get you down," Corgan sings, with all the cheery seasonal pep of a vampire. That's our brilliant Billy Corgan, and it's wonderful to have him back.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Smashing Pumpkins,  More more >
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