By Andrew Hunter
Monuments To An Elegy
Smashing Pumpkins were (are still) one of my favourite bands. Growing up there wasn’t a huge selection of alternative bands which were easy to come across, so Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Jane’s Addiction were regulars getting played. So I found it quite tough to actually write about them. But it’s not like I will be completely bias here I havn’t liked every decision Billy Corgan’s made over his back catalogue, mostly breaking up to form Zwan who blew so badly it’s tough to convey in words, and Zwan happened when Smashing Pumpkins were putting out some of their best stuff, at least to me anyway. Last time I saw them live before the Oceania tour in Glasgow was one of the slowest gigs I’ve every been to, the audience was so flat, there was no energy in the room (to be fair the album wasn’t out yet and nobody knew most of the songs, not that I wanted a greatest hits set, but still a load of B-sides that night) only thing that made up for a lacklustre set was the company I was keeping at the show. I’m just saying I can be critical and I havn’t even used the cat picture at all. But I would like to have a chat about cats, wrestling, and tea- I would love some free tea, my throat’s killing me.
I would say while this album does stand up against the past albums it’s not a nostalgia act, it’s a shorter, almost pop-like, easier to delve into than previous, at just 30 odd minutes, maybe poking fun at people who criticized his more epic spiralling songs such as “United States” or “Gosshammer”. But in a time when people just don’t have the time for double albums and thirty three minute songs, attention spans seem to be shorter with music maybe everything now and this album seems a product of this, being shorter and containing only nine songs, it can’t be accused of being prog.
From the gentle piano opening on first track “Tiberius” the track slowly buids into big riffs with heavy guitars, a strong start to the album. Even “Being Beige” which I was not loving at all, has even grew on me the more I listen to it. “One and All (We Are)” is by far one of the best tracks, it just flows so well and kinda sticks out on this synth/drum machine-laden album, there are plenty of stomping drums on this album courtesy of Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee. But it’s an eclectic mix, you really hear the contrast with the use of drums/drum machines on “One and All (We Are)” juxtaposed with “Run 2 Me”, you can’t say any of the songs have the same vibe. But this short album works so well and makes me think Smashing Pumpkins are not just a nostalgia act playing the hits, but have a lot of songs still in them, and I’m actually really looking forward to hearing the next album “Day for Night”, out later this year.
“One and All (We Are)”