Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
Smashing Pumpkins are back with their long awaited album Oceania, released on 19th June. Oceania’s 13 songs are afforded space to breathe and are never overwhelming. It’s clear that these strident experimentalists have expanded their sound considerably into a constantly exhilarating and sensory obliterating effort.
Opening track Quasar attacks the ears the most. Noise is scrupulously interwoven with restrained drone, reflective lyrics and melody. It’s not gratuitous, not even at its most nerve-shredding peak. With Quasar set out to cause maximum destruction, Violet Rays is more carefully trodden. Its exploration of sound and its capacity to influence human reaction casts Smashing Pumpkins as an outfit of manipulators with undying dedication.
Oceania’s songs are built upon bolshy percussion and snake-like bass and are packed with the odd sonic squiggle. From start to finish the album is ragged and riff-heavy and occasionally hypnotic and menacing.
Closing track Wildflower is the most immersive track on the album. It’s addictively slow and crawling with thought. It’s the restraint of this track that fills it with such wonderful tension. It stands out note for note with winsome nostalgia. Wildflower finally untangles into an engrossing pleasure.
Small weaknesses of Oceania are diminished by moments of sheer greatness and create an album worthy of the highest praise.
Standout Track – Quasar