Cameron Bryn – Staff Writer
Rating: 3.5 Stars
The newest Smashing Pumpkins album Oceania is a crossroads of old and new. Billy Corgan (vocals, guitar, keyboards and production), Jeff Schroeder (guitar), Nicole Fiorentino (bass guitar), and Mike Byrne (drums) have revived some of the Smashing Pumpkins‘ previous grunge sound, but have added elements of new electronic synth-like sound to the mix.
The Smashing Pumpkins hail from the era of grunge in the mid 90′s with albums Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness putting them on the map. Oceania, released seventeen years after Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, proves that the band still has greatness in them. Though I don’t think the album is as good as previous works, I still consider it to be strong and well done. “Quasar” was my favorite track on the album and most similar to older songs such as “Geek USA” and “Silverfuck” with insane guitar shredding and Corgan’s trademark wail as the song builds up, slows down, and then blasts off. The title track “Oceania” was beautifully epic and definitely exemplified the band’s new direction. The electronic sounds in “One Diamond, One Heart” caught me completely off guard. It brought the sound out of the 90′s and into the present trends in music. I thought it was a cool addition and enjoyed it as it carried through into other tracks.
Overall, I give this album 3 1/2 stars. It has a full updated sound that perfectly blends The Smashing Pumpkins‘ grunge root sound with a new, more modern twist. Though not quite as epic as previous albums, Oceania shows quite a lot of promise for the future of the band.