They're calling it a Smashing Pumpkins reunion album, but the only members of the original lineup involved in Zeitgeist are Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. D'Arcy Wretzky and James Iha have been replaced by tour temps Ginger Reyes and Jeff Schoeder. So it's really no closer to a Pumpkins project than something by the ill-fated Zwan.
In fact, the forceful guitar presence throughout Corgan & company's new work seems more strongly connected to Zwan's prog aesthetic, only Zeitgeist's songs are more tuneful, tightly structured and rely on the repetition of simple riffs and short, shouted phrases ready-made for arena rocking.
The production input of Terry Date (Pantera, Overkill) and Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, Cars) leaves little room for subtlety. This is no-frills rawk that's been dumbed down for mass consumption. It makes sense that the extra-track incentives are only available to those buying the recording from Target, Best Buy and iTunes, where each version has a different song, which some see as a cynical scam to make Pumpkins fans with more dollars than sense buy multiple copies.
Smashing Pumpkins play the V Fest on Toronto Island September 9.