The Smashing Pumpkins
Oceania


2.5
average

Review

by welljesuschrist USER (15 Reviews)
November 24th, 2012 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Well, at least it's better than Zeitgeist.

Tyrannical studio overlord Billy Corgan has always been the driving force behind The Smashing Pumpkins. And his oft reported megalomania may have not been as unwarranted as made out; their touring keyboardist did die after shooting up with drummer Jimmy Chamberlain in 1996 and D'arcy Wretzky's arrest for possession of crack-cocaine shortly after she left the band in 1999 gave some weight to Corgan's accusations of her descent into 'madness/drugs' during the recording of Mellon Collie. So even though 2005's Pumpkin's 'reunion' did feel hollow considering it was actually just Corgan and Chamberlain, it was certainly conceivable another truly great Pumpkin's record could come out of it.

Zeitgeist wasn't that record. Arriving two years later, it was noisy and brash, and screamed 'we're back, listen to us'. But even Corgan himself conceded most people didn't listen, observing that 'In the past if you put out an album, people at least knew the first song. We would go out and play 'Doomsday Clock' and I could tell that they hadn't even listened to it.'. Zeitgeist wasn't a total failure, but it was their poorest LP to date, feeling one-sided and overly aggressive. Chamberlain subsequently left/was fired, depending on who's account you choose to believe, in 2009.

And then there was one. Undeterred and audacious as ever, Corgan quickly recruited 19 year old drummer Mike Byrne and announced his plan to release a 44 track concept album called Tear Garden By Kaleidyscope over the internet, one track at a time. A couple of EPs worth of material later, full time guitarist Jeff Schroeder and bassist Nicole Forentino were recruited and Oceania was announced as an 'album within an album'.

Opener Quasar genuinely sounds like it could have been left over from Gish; propelled forward by Byrne's restless and muscular drumming and crammed full of trademark spiralling guitar riffs it finds Corgan shouting 'God, ride on, Krishna, ride on, ma, ride on, Yod He Vau'. 'Violet Rays' is an affecting, swelling dream-pop ballad and get past its melodramatic title and 'My Love Is Winter' is an absolute gem, all swooning vocals and soaring guitar solos. It's The Pumpkins at their inimitable best; majestic, dreamy, uplifting and utterly addictive. Unfortunately the middle sags; 'Pinwheels' is an aimless excursion into synth-pop and the nine minute 'Oceania' is plain unnecessary falling far short of previous epics 'Porcelina of the Vast Oceans' or 'The Aeroplane Flies High'. Things pick up with 'Glissandra' and 'Inkless' two straight forward, competent mid-tempo rockers before 'Wildflower' closes the record gently.

The expectation and anticipation surrounding Oceania have done it no favours. Despite being superior to Zeitgeist it still falls short of anything The Pumpkins released during the nineties. It isn't a classic, nor even a return to form. It's inconsistent, as were Adore and Machina but their high-points (and there were many on both albums) were better than anything on offer here (with the possible exception of 'My Love Is Winter'). The best record Corgan has released in a decade is Mary, Star of the Sea with short-lived super-group Zwan. It was also the one least affected, tainted or associated with the Pumpkins moniker (he chose the release date of his only true solo offering in 2005 to announce the reunion of The Pumpkins). Labouring under the weight and legacy of the most important band on the 90's can't be easy, but at worst Oceania is a step in the right direction to doing that legacy justice.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
welljesuschrist
November 24th 2012


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Originally here - http://www.youarentcool.com/reviews/1/oceania

Not even close to the return to form a lot of reviews made it out to be imo.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2012


16023 Comments


never bothered listening to anything after Adore

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

Crawl
November 24th 2012


1618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well that sucks, cause this album rules and so does Machina.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2012


16023 Comments


oh

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 24th 2012


16023 Comments


i loved siamese and mellon but didnt adore adore so did they improve after adore ?

welljesuschrist
November 24th 2012


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Machina and Machina II are different from Adore and both contain some absolute gems. Zeitgeist is genuinely poor, this is at worst boring. Love Is Winter is really great.

jtswope
November 24th 2012


2150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i thought this record was decent but obviously it's not up to par with their first 3 records. i did enjoy several parts of machina II though

Crawl
November 24th 2012


1618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@mena: well this is their best album since Mellon Collie

YoYoMancuso
November 24th 2012


11081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this reads more like a 3

Ikarus14
November 24th 2012


537 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I rather like this album, though it won't be seen as a classic Smashing Pumpkins album ten years on.

Review is good though.

peaks40
November 24th 2012


2759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck you. this rules but yeah it's a decent review, glad you like glissandra and my love is winter. those are my fav tracks

Lakes.
November 24th 2012


27773 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^^^

Digging: Arthur Russell - World of Echo

ChopSuey
November 24th 2012


2392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

vvvvvv

RagingNoob
November 24th 2012


134 Comments


Good review, pos'd. Mr Corgan lost the plot a long time ago IMHO.

SiameseInfinity
November 24th 2012


20 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review, but i dig the whole album personally. Nearly cried when i heard panopticon for the first time.
X

welljesuschrist
November 24th 2012


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Pumpkins were one of the first bands I truly fell in love with. I distinctly remember downloading 'Eye' and 'Stand Inside Your Love' off Napster when I was about 11 haha. But I cannot pretend that I don't believe they've lost their magic. I don't think Corgan can ever again tap into whatever muse he had during their first run.

Sun2Moon
November 24th 2012


103 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wildflower is one of those few songs where I honestly can't stand his voice .

Schni
November 24th 2012


52 Comments


Definitely not as good as their first 4 albums, but it's nice to see music from them that isn't completely shitty again.

danielito19
November 25th 2012


5587 Comments


band still exists?

Gwyn.
November 25th 2012


15101 Comments


For some reason.



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