I wonder if Billy Corgan would prefer people listened to his most recent album in a vacuum where Melancholy And The Infinite Sadness, news of his ever-changing backing band and Anderson Cooper don’t exist. I wonder if diehard Smashing Pumpkins fans wish that, too. It would make it easier to take in Monuments To An Elegy, their most straightforward and accessible album to date.
For every pure rock song, like One And All (We Are), with its heavy-hitting cyclical guitar melodies and that classic Corgan snarl, there’s a glistening pop number rife with plush drums, synthesizers and starry-eyed lyrics. (Case in point: “Run to me, my special one,” on Run2Me.) But while some songs veer too far into slick pop territory, most are balanced, like opener Tiberius, a high-stakes emotional odyssey with a chorus you can sing along to.
Most confounding, the record is only 33 minutes long. Perhaps Corgan is holding back for the final instalment of Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, the 44-track project that wraps up next year.
Top track: Tiberius