I’m an unashamed Smashing Pumpkins fan, through think & thin I’ve followed Billy Corgan with great enthusiasm as, generally, his musical output is always cracking. As the middle entry in the much larger ‘Teardrop by Kaleidyscope‘ musical project, the final instalment due midyear 2015, Monuments To An Elegy is a nine song rockier outing than 2012’s Oceania, yet the feel of that album does hang over here. Without a track that tops 4 mins 10 seconds, these alt rock confections are a brisk affair and the inclusion of Tommy Lee on the skins makes a noticeably punchier listen. Corgan’s embrace of the glam rock stylings of Rush, for example, exude strongly here as does a loving nod to 80’s synthesiser sounds. It all adds up to a fun, albeit very quick, listen at 33 minutes. It’s Corgan’s shortest effort and, for me, as fun as it is, it also marks his least nourishing.
There are moments of brilliance in here, especially in lead track Being Beige and the album’s best track Run2Me, but surrounding them are a slew of tracks that all sound the same. Tiberius, Anaise!, One & All, Drum & Fife, Dorian and Anti-Hero all are punchy 3 minute rock tracks yet they all suffer the branding of sameness. Overdriven guitars, 3-4 power chord riffs, overdub laden leads and synth effects thunder through each of them as Corgan’s vocal squarks over it. Given their likenesses and homages to 70’s glam rock, it also dates them fairly quickly. I found myself wandering back to Oceania, American Gothic, Zeitgeist, Machina I & II, Adore, Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness, Siamese Dream, Pisces Iscariot & Gish pretty shortly after listening to the album to remind myself of their musical journey. This one just doesn’t have that hook to make me hit repeat instantly like all the others did.
Monuments To An Elegy is a fun album, though more like an extended EP and it’s really cool to see Corgan continually redeveloping his sound. This is more of a novelty entree while we wait for next years main course!
MONUMENTS TO AN ELEGY by THE SMASHING PUMPKINS releases DECEMBER 12, 2014 in AUSTRALIA