Smashing Pumpkins

Martha's Music / Sumerian, 2020

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


In my review of 2018’s Smashing Pumpkins reunion album Shiny And Oh So Bright, Vol. 1: No Past. No Future. No Sun, I wondered if this was a one-off, a half hour designed to bring forgotten fans back into the fold than an attempt to truly push forward. Turns out it was a true reunion, and now the second album from three-fourths of the original band lineup has come out.

No, it’s not Vol. 2 of that first album, nor is it of a piece of any of the last Pumpkins albums of the last 20 years. It’s a keyboard and synth-laden detour from the guitar-heavy sound that made the band famous, harkening back to 1998’s my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Adore and 2007’s Zeitgeist in its conscious shedding of the six-string. And it’s really not that great.

In that review, I noted that Shiny was not the sound of Corgan pushing forward, as he has been wont to do on most of his music. CYR is definitely not the same old, and that will be tough to swallow for many fans. If your Pumpkins tastes run toward the synth side of the band – if your favorite SP songs are “Ava Adore,” “For God and Country,” “Anaise” (from Monuments To An Elegy, aka the Tommy Lee album) or “Tonight, Tonight” then you’ll get more out of this album. But the majority of fans, I suspect, will get bored midway through and put on something that rocks.

CYR is very long, and it definitely does not rock, favoring slower/midtempo pieces no shorter than three minutes and no longer than five minutes…and the thing has 20 songs and lasts an hour and 12 minutes. But Mellon Collie it ain’t, or even Teargarden By Kaleidyscope, the last time that I think Corgan really stretched himself and his songwriting, and the moment (once the project ended) that I think most fans stopped paying attention, if they hadn’t quit by Zeitgeist already.

You get one keyboard/synth-centric midtempo song, and then another, and then another, and you’ve already forgotten the first one, and there’s 17 more to go. The songs just don’t excite the way the best Pumpkins music can, with two exceptions: “Wyttch,” which gets the blood pumping a bit, and opener “The Colour Of Love,” which has that pop element that Corgan always infused into his work as far back as Siamese Dream. The cover is pretty cool too.

There’s nothing outright embarrassing, and nothing outright amazing, and so CYR ends up as a mediocre effort from a formerly great band, and one that only truly dedicated fans need to seek out.

Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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