Smashing Pumpkins


  • Virgin

Lead Pumpkin Billy Corgan softens the angst for a more muted but nonetheless stunning follow-up to 1995's epic double-album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. He's replaced the gritty guitars and plaintive wails with slower tempos, near whispers and even a distant banjo. However, the sentiments caressed by Corgan's vocals are largely the same — love, obsession, possession. Yet the dramatic sentimentality never gushes into treacle thanks to Corgan's haunting voice. “For Martha,” a elegy to Corgan's mother, the dramatic “Tear” and the unsettling “Crestfallen” are standouts. Once again, the Pumpkins prove they can sustain that oxymoronic status of being both adventurous and enduring.

Alicia Potter