Following a seven year hiatus the Smashing Pumpkins return with their much anticipated comeback album, “Zeitgeist.” After such a long time, anticipation is obviously high for both the die-hard fans and a whole new generation. So, they get right back on track with thundering opener “Doomsday Clock,” evoking true Smashing Pumpkins melancholy in the lyrics and delivery of Billy Corgan: “These lonely days/when will they ever stop?” Corgan’s prevailing voice also layers defiance in this song – yes, listening to Smashing Pumpkins will get us through these troubled times!
However this opening is left tainted with songs such as “7 Shades of Black” and “Bleeding the Orchid,” constructed with similar vocal patterns, removing the uniqueness that the Pumpkins usually produce. Disappointingly, the band blends into the drone of rock singers they comically try to mock in their debut single “Tarantula,” despite proclaiming “we are the real.” Although the band seems to aiming for a more mainstream audience, technically the Pumpkins do not disappoint. The songs are layered skilfully with commanding guitar, roaring bass and even synth, a new experience for the band. This is all explored to the extreme in the epic “United States,” and despite the slightly egotistical extended guitar solo in the middle you can appreciate the brilliance of the Pumpkins. Furthermore, the reformed line-up is successful in producing a well rounded album, with gems such as “Neverlost” and “For God and Country” reminiscent of their innovative album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” “Zeitgeist” shows the band does adapt to the music and the issues faced today, sincerely fulfilling its title. But in all honesty, Pumpkins are technically astounding and cannot be generalized just as the spirit of today. They still produce good records whatever age and reflect the spirit of a lifetime.
Gemma Dempster may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org