Review Summary: A completely average start to the already-doomed Teargarden project.
Smashing Pumpkins are quite a far cry from once what they were. Billy Corgan, maniacal head case front man has essentially chased everyone from the band-Iha left first, followed by Wretzky, now after a disastrous reunion, Jimmy Chamberlin left. James Iha and Wretzky were just figure heads of what the Pumpkins once were but Chamberlin’s departure officially signified the end of the Smashing Pumpkins. But, Billy keeps on trucking, putting out more and more mediocre music, essentially further endowing how unrelevant the-quote “Smashing Pumpkins” are. Nevertheless, Vol. 1 is a tolerable, completely average EP that would be fairly well received if Billy Corgan would stop calling it Smashing Pumpkins.
Teargarden by Kaliedyscope is a 44-song concept destined for failure, and now the first part of it was just released. Four songs, released one by one to no acclaim or notice at all, sloppily put together in one collection. Opening up with the promising “A Song for a Son”, the Pumpkins’ V3 starts off with a pretty catchy (yet repetitive) classic rock inspired track that teeters with psychedelia and Led Zeppelin-esque metal. The solos are great, the vocals are better than usual, the drums serve a minimal purpose, and the progression is nice. The song is a nice, sprawling epic that succeeds. However, “Widow Wake My Mind” is a disaster from the get-go. Corgan’s vocals are terrible, the guitar riffs are distorted to ridiculous levels, the lyrics are dumb, and it’s just overall a horrible track. “A Stitch in Time” is a tolerable track carried by the toybox-organ style of Teargarden, but really isn’t memorable and doesn’t go anywhere. It flows into “Astral Planes”, a retro grunge-inspired psychedelic rocker drenched in feedback. The guitars, production, everything other than the lyrics are ace. For once, Billy doesn’t throw his vocals to the front. He hides them behind the layers of distortion, and that’s a welcome fresh start. Luckily, the horrendous vocals are hidden by the catchiness of the song and the layers of guitar tracks thrown on top. It’s actually the closest song to Gish of the whole reunion, actually.
There is a few things to be optimistic about from this first EP. The production isn’t horrible, Corgan is testing out new sounds, and Mike Byrne is slowly finding his spot in the band. They’re actually sounding a bit like the Smashing Pumpkins too, which is impressive. Poor songs like “Widow Wake My Mind” keep the EP flawed, but at the end of the day, tracks like “A Song for a Son” and “Astral Planes” show that Corgan hasn’t lost it completely. At the least, those two are worth downloading.
Just because the whole thing IS doomed to suck (and we all know it is) doesn't mean there aren't good songs on it worth praise or at least a listen. I've heard the first half and while Widow is godfuckingawful, I liked Song For A Son more than a lot of Zeitgeist.
Not complete shit. I give it an extra .5 for sentimental reasons.
Billy does need to admit to himself he's lost that amazing songwriting ability he used to have, though. I mean fuck. Listening to something like Disarm, where the melodies are so fucking perfect, the musical arrangement is fantastic and blows away anything else in the early 90s.
I have a feeling this will get better, but I just don't see him ever writing a song like Cherub Rock or Mayonaise again.
Mayonaise brings a tear to my eye everytime...sniffle...not to mention Galapogos, Luna, Porcelain of the Vast Oceans, To Sheila...the list goes on.
Corgan is an immensely talented songwriter, but ever since the demise of Adore he has never been the same. It's like he's lost all sense of focus - before he would write music for himself and would essentially create risky, ground breaking albums in the process. But then he did Machina, which was meant to be a 'return to the old Pumpkins sound' and then Zeitgeist, which he intented to, and I quote 'make an accessible, mainstream rock record, to comment on the "emerging fascist" political climate of the United States.'
It's good that he's experimenting again now, but he's not making albums anymore because of the demise of Zeitgeist. And then at that fucking anniversary show, he was saying 'I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS WANT!'
Smashing Pumpkins were always mediocre at best. Now that Corgan has completely lost it, we have to listen to shit like this. The funny thing is how highly he thinks of himself. I read an interview recently where he pretty much stated that he is "one of the great songwriters" or words to that effect. What a joke.
It kind of went a bit wrong as soon as it the noughties...enter Machina. Which wasn't awful, but the production was simply horrendous, especially on songs like 'Blues Skies Brings Tears' and 'Heavy Metal Machine'.