Leaving us waiting with anticipation for five years, The Smashing Pumpkins finally release their follow-up to 2007’s Zeitgeist; Oceania is a nice middle finger to those who declared Zeitgeist a flop in their music career. If you think this is another folly, you couldn’t be any more wrong.
Streamed on iTunes since June 12th, The Smashing Pumpkins gave their fans the option of declaring their love/hate relationship with the record seven days prior to the official release. Oceania is something out of the ordinary for the Pumpkins, ignoring everything they’ve ever tried and tested before, as they dive into a new realm. The opening track ‘Quasar’ features a hardcore punk-rock influence, but stays clear of their dreaminess that was evoked in earlier records such as Siamese Dream.
The Smashing Pumpkins’ Oceania
And if you’re expecting another Siamese Dream, here’s a warning: don’t. This isn’t the ‘90s, this is the 21st Century, and Billy and crew have tapped into that reality. The closest to Siamese Dream you’ll get on the record is ‘Violet Rays’ and ‘Pinwheels’ but even at that, it isn’t the same. The Smashing Pumpkins have evolved for almost every record and his regular adaptation to the needs of fans today enables them to produce an album those fans can call influential.
This adaptation to the fans of today is showcased in ‘One Diamond, One Heart’ where similarities can be made to John Frusciante’s sound in his album A Sphere in the Heart of Silence. This melody again appears in ‘Oceania’ but the distinct guitar riffs that flow through in every track make it a clear entry for progressive rock. This is where they explore the more dream pop side of their previous recordings.
The Smashing Pumpkins’ One Diamond, One Heart
The album as a whole is extremely diverse; it fluctuates not only between sounds, but between genres. It’s a risky and ambitious move, but the order of the tracks make the album sound like one complete record, not random songs thrown together to make an album. The album is a collision of all the sounds the Pumpkins have ever explored: From grunge, gothic rock, heavy metal, pop and psychedelic. This is a completely new, fresh start for The Smashing Pumpkins; giving Placebo a run for their money. This isn’t Siamese Dream, Adore or Zeitgeist: This is Oceania, and it is genius.
Written by Sarah Keary
OurVinyl | Contributor