Zeitgeist, the first album of new material in seven years from highly acclaimed and multiplatinum-selling Smashing Pumpkins, returns the band to its rightful place at the cutting edge of Modern Rock. Led by Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins created songs that defined alternative music and continue to influence a new generation (just since 2005 the band's MySpace page has tallied an amazing 3,125,000+ views). With Zeitgeist, Smashing Pumpkins are back. Limited Edition featuring a 76-page book bound with post and screws with a die-cut pocket for the CD.
Inside the buzzing hive of Smashing Pumpkins' guitars is clearly where bandleader Billy Corgan feels most comfortable. So, after a seven-year hiatus for the short-lived group Zwan and his surprisingly sunny 2005 solo album, Corgan has revived the Pumpkins in all the six-string-spattered shades of emotional gray that made them one of the greatest bands of the alt-rock era. Longtime drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, along with famed boardsmiths Roy Thomas Baker and Terry Date as well as Corgan himself coproduced. Chamberlin also supports mountainous layers of guitar with his fiercest playing. This is a version of the band dedicated to early bare-knuckled form, with a few exceptions: Corgan's grown into a more powerful wordsmith and his lengthy guitar solo explorations of yore are replaced with a trim, barbed textural approach that's ultimately more vicious. That is, until the centerpiece "United States" stretches into an epic punk-metal-informed sibling of Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun," with Corgan's strings singing like explosions and twisting metal as he warbles about revolution. Much of this album conjures literal and sonic visions of apocalypse, but there's grace, too, in the blithe grind of the hopeful "That's the Way (My Love Is)" and the melodic "Neverlost." Overall, Corgan's captivating effort to mine both the spirit of these turbulent times and the soul of his defining band is a smashing success. --Ted Drozdowski