The Smashing Pumpkins
Oceania


4.0
excellent

Review

by Joseph Viney STAFF
June 17th, 2012 | 346 replies | 49,182 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Smashing stuff

What’s in a name? Depends who you ask. Since Corgan revived the Smashing Pumpkins in 2006 a lot of words have gone back and forth between fans over whether or not this qualifies as the real SP. It’s certainly been no secret that even with James Iha, Darcy Wretsky and Jimmy Chamberlain filling the roles in the ‘classic’ line-up SP has been Corgan’s baby. Even going back as far as 1993’s Siamese Dream, there were stories of Corgan taking control of all musical matters (whether it be through necessity or otherwise) and even reports of him pushing band members out of chairs in order to record parts. You could argue that the aforementioned three were hired hands, much like the situation SP find themselves in today. Is it any coincidence that this album shares a name with Orwell’s totalitarian nation-state from Nineteen Eighty-Four? Probably, but it’s a fun theory to espouse upon anyway.

Since 2006, we’ve had the much-maligned and patchy Zeitgeist as well as the sprawling and just a tad confused Teargarden By Kaleidyscope series. Corgan’s usual prolific output was there, but the quality was lacking. It gave rise to the notions put forth by naysayers that Corgan had lost it, ruining his legacy in the process.

Really, it’s a shame that Oceania is not the first comeback record, because it’s a fine collection of music that both anchors itself in that classic Pumpkins sound whilst managing to deploy a number of new tricks. Opener “Quasar” is a rambunctious, wailing beast of a song with a number of different speeds and moods. Following immediately after is “Panopticon”, a song in a similar vein to its predecessor; waves of guitar backed by Mike Byrne’s tight drumming and Corgan’s trademark (for better or worse) voice singing about suns and moons and Lord knows what else.

What sets Oceania apart from its reformation predecessors is its strong production. Whereas Zeitgeist was a brash and messy guitar-driven record that stalled as a result of questionable mixing, the new record is a cleaner, more clinical effort. Each musician is given the necessary time and space to utilise and make known their talents, in turn contributing to a more complete and beneficial set of song structures. For instance, Nicole Fiorentino’s bass playing comes to the fore on tracks like “The Celestials” and “Pale Horse”, flitting between a reedier, harmonious sound to a deep, rounded rumble at will. The guitar playing follows a similar course, and we are given a demonstration of just how versatile both Corgan and fellow guitarist Jeff Schroeder are. From the classic rock-style harmonising of “The Chimera”, the adventurous solos on “Inkless” and to the myriad methods of playing on the album’s eponymous centrepiece track, the record is a boon those who enjoy well-crafted guitar work. Mike Byrne is an excellent successor to the throne once so ably occupied by Chamberlain. Provided that Byrne, at only 22 years of age, stays in the group, then he can only get even better from here on out.

Corgan and his group should be praised. Instead of relying upon the old classics, touring the same old stuff, he and SP have forged ahead to create a record that could well be the catalyst of a stellar second era for one of rock’s more interesting groups.



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user ratings (484)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DoubtGin
June 17th 2012



6748 Comments


a good Smashing Pumpkins release again mmmhh

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012



3333 Comments


I know your reviews by your summaries. This album gets more love than I thought on Sputnik. Is it that really that good ?

Digging: Karma To Burn - Arch Stanton

aerial
June 17th 2012



17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I hope Billy keeps this drummer because he fits perfectly. I never thought I would have liked someone as much as Jimmy Chamberlain but Mike Byrne is an excellent replacement, Violet Rays is a prime example of what Mike Byrne can bring to the table. SP was a band I listened to as much or more than any other growing up and now I am excited to go and see them live for the first time in 10 years!

JViney
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012



322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I know your reviews by your summaries."

My other choice of summary was "Homer Simpson: smiling politely."

StrizzMatik
June 17th 2012



3175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's a great album.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012



3333 Comments


I checked out some tracks and it sounds interesting. Oh and I almost forgot, great review Joseph.

oWhoadYo
June 17th 2012



1224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My review is better. Deal with it

Damn staff, knocking user reviews off the featured.... Not fair...

Calc
June 17th 2012



11985 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fuk this is giving these guys uno mas chance!!!

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

KILL
June 17th 2012



70586 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its k

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

WeepingBanana
June 17th 2012



10045 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

yeah this was a pleasant surprise

JViney
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012



322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"My review is better. Deal with it."

If you were that good then you'd be staff. Deal with it.

KILL
June 17th 2012



70586 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

zing

VlacDrac
June 17th 2012



835 Comments


Panopticon & Oceania (Oceanic).
This reminds me of Isis.

Tyrael
June 17th 2012



20737 Comments


'If you were that good then you'd be staff. Deal with it.'

Jviney is clearly a strong white staffer who don't need no man

oWhoadYo
June 17th 2012



1224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@JViney

You hardly even reviewed the album. All you did was talk about the band, how does that summarize or
help people understand the album? It doesn't. Plus everyone already knows the shit you said, that's
why they are here. Plus, you said practically the same things I said, but my review went into more
detail. Also, Your comment in response to mine was incredibly predictable, as if you have no way of
backing up that my reviews are poor in any way. Your condescending reply is duly noted.

LifeAsAChipmunk
June 17th 2012



4854 Comments


Whao! Andcas gave this a 2.5? Damn.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 17th 2012



23798 Comments


nice work Viney, you're becoming one of my favourite staff members. behind Monica Skoko, of course

JViney
Staff Reviewer
June 17th 2012



322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think she's (?) dead.

Samizdat
June 17th 2012



301 Comments


Decent review. I can't help but imagine the real-life Joseph Viney as a Charles Kinbote, for any Nobokovians out there.

How are things in Zembla, friend?

Still in love with the "The Celestials," if just for the melody. Lyrics suck. Corgan's no wordsmith.

oWhoadYo
June 17th 2012



1224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

JViney believes that this is the pumpkins best record.

Wha...wha....What? He gave Siamese Dream, MCaTIS, Gish and Adore a 3.5, but this album a 4. What's with this guy?



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