Let’s be honest here, at times over recent years it has been hard to know exactly what Smashing Pumpkins’ name on a record actually means. Shifting line-up constantly since their lauded glory days, ‘CYR’ is the first full-length since 1999 to feature Billy Corgan, James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin. With three-quarters of their classic line-up restored, it sees that raw ambition back front-and-center.
A double-album from a band responsible for one of the defining examples of the art form (the iconic ‘Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness’), it’s also one that refuses to stick to lazy expectations. Be that through a higher desire to do something different, or an unlikely sense of fun, ‘CYR’ is a record that deals in constantly moving, high definition synth-pop. Both deadly serious and yet (surely knowingly) larger than life, it also shows flashes of Corgan at his very best. The chorus hook of ‘Ramona’ could be lifted from the band’s imperial phase, while the album’s title track has the kind of camp swagger of an evil Pet Shop Boys. It’s all the better for it, too.
In avoiding a lazy play for the glory days, Smashing Pumpkins may confuse a few, but they’ll fascinate far, far more.