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Album #330: The Smashing Pumpkins – CYR

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Label: Sumerian
  • Best Track: Wyttch

There’s quite a gap in my Smashing Pumpkins chronology. I know and enjoy the same ones most people my age do – Gish (1991), my favourite Siamese Dream (1993), and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995).

I don’t know why I haven’t heard much since. I suppose I’ve just never counted them as a favourite band, despite some era-defining songs. Plus Billy Corgan seems to have become a bit of a weird alt-right conspiracy theorist.

Their new 11th album CYR is described as part two of the band’s Shiny and Oh So Bright series. Of course, I haven’t heard the first, but I think this can be appreciated in its own right.

Across its 72 minutes, it’s a bit hit and miss, but mostly hit, I’ve decided. It certainly has a more electronic sound than I’ve heard from them before. Sometimes, like on ‘Adrennalynne’ and ‘Schaudenfreud’, the execution just seems cheesy to me, but other times, like on ‘Purple Blood’ and the great closer ‘Minerva’, they find a great balance of melody and mood. And what a last line to an album: “We are fools, but sometimes, fools, they rule.”

Perhaps tellingly though, probably my favourite song is ‘Wyttch’, which sounds the most like something they would’ve done 25-30 years ago with its crashing guitars and rumbling bass.

I wouldn’t call CYR a classic, but they have the talent and musicianship to do something a little different on every album and always come up with something worth listening to.

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