The Smashing Pumpkins

Monuments to an Elegy

Martha's Music

Dec 12, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


The Smashing Pumpkins' history can be told in two acts. Act one, an unconventional alt-rock band scores international success with a series of guitar-heavy albums for introverts. Act two, that band goes through a nearly uncountable series of lineup changes and spends the following 15 years releasing a comeback album every now and then, but never recapturing the spark of imagination that fueled their early success.

But here comes Monuments to an Elegy, and suddenly Billy Corgan's awkward attempts at rebranding the Pumpkins are nearly forgiven. Even with the most surreal lineup alteration yetyes, Corgan tapped Tommy Lee for the volatile position of Smashing Pumpkins drummerthis album actually manages to hold up on its own merit, without the pressure of holding its composure against some kind of rock-messiah narrative. It's just here, for us to enjoy, regardless of The Smashing Pumpkins' legacy.

Monuments is surprising not just in its diversion of ceremony or meaning, but in its brevity. By whittling it down to a mere 33 minutes, Corgan has produced a record that's biggest strength is its accessibility, something even his early albums lacked. It's an album full of brutal guitar riffs masking elegant pop compositions, with a restrained use of synths softening the edges. Yet it's still achingly familiar, like the missing link between Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and Adore. It's not as good as either of those, but it is solid middle ground. For The Smashing Pumpkins' third act, Corgan has finally unveiled the album he should have made 15 years ago.(www.smashingpumpkinsnexus.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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K
December 14th 2014
6:13pm

This review is basically worthless, loaded with misinformation. The band lineup changes are uncountable - really, no access to Google? And does it matter?  Hasn’t beent he original band since 2000 (yes, NOT 15 years ago); does this need to be reiterated every time the pumpkins have a new album? Get over it.