In a career plagued by ineffective comebacks, the one thing that unites all the Smashing Pumpkins material is Billy Corgan’s distinctive vocals which lie in the pleasantly listenable section of raw. What he’s added in the songwriting process to these tight nine tracks is a surprisingly pop approach, most evident in the abundance of synth decorations. On tracks like Anaise! they come off a bit naff, sounding futuristic for the 70s and not as flamboyant or garish as they would be in the hands of someone like Muse. The effect is not so much stadium rock as intimate medium sized venue rock.
The pop highlight is Run2Me, either the best or worst track on the album, with a synth part dominating the intro before easing into some sub-Coldplay, 80s rock anthem. It’s one of the stand outs of sparse but dramatic drumming and guitar wankery, which reminds you of the surreal studio inclusion of Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee.
What Moments of Elegy does do very well is alt rock. One And All and Anti-Hero are probably the most familiar sounding ‘Pumpkinsy’ grunge rock tracks, sounding complete with their droning, blanket guitar walls of sound. Opening track Tiberius has a twisting guitar part that almost sounds like an organ, and like much of the album it’s immediate and listenable, if not remarkably memorable. That the following track is called Being Beige, is both a taunt and acknowledgement.
At just nine songs long it’s an incredibly short album, barely scraping past half an hour, but then the plan is to release two albums in short succession. It only serves to highlight the increasing irrelevance of the album format, as many a band (and certainly a pop artist) would’ve simply put out a longer album and then used the offcuts for a repacked deluxe edition. Day for Night is pencilled in for early 2015 which Corgan conceived as a pairing, either creatively or within the constraints of a new record deal with BMG. Or both. If it’s anything as pleasing to listen to, there should be plenty more Smashing Pumpkins records on the horizon as they hit their accessible pop stride.
Bob Henderson AKA @bobchicalors
Maxell Music Monday Competition
As part of our Music Monday’s, we want to give you a pair of fantastic M by Maxell in-ear headphones, as well as a copy of Monuments to an Elegy album. To enter the competition, just follow these steps.
Step One – Check out the M by Maxell website and find the three M by Maxell in-ear headphones, then choose your favourite model.
Step Two – Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us which model is your favourite, your name and your postal address.
Step Three – Sit back, relax and wait for us to pull your name out of the tombola.
The competition is open until December 29th, and we’ll let the winner know by December 21st.