The ’90s are back in a big way – and it’s not just an abundance of Dr. Martens and crop-tops that are signaling the revival. Iconic grunge-gods, The Smashing Pumpkins, have delivered their new album Monuments To An Elegy, and with it, take us back to the sounds that rendered this era timeless.
Frontman Billy Corgan has been hyping the release for a while – stating it’s “epic in a way that is indescribable” – and he’s recruited some big names in music to get it done. Featuring drumming from Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee and mastering from Howie Weinberg, the end result is an unexpected return to form.
The opener, ‘Tiberius’, contrasts heavy guitar and crashing percussion against whimsical piano interludes for a promising start. This tone continues with songs like ‘Run2me’ and ‘Dorian’, bringing effective hooks and rhythms for a pop appeal. A highlight is the lead single, ‘Being Beige’, which reveals an emotion in Corgan’s expression that hasn’t been heard in years. The sheering guitars and layered instrumentals perfectly balance the melancholy of the harmonies to produce a stellar tune.
Monuments To An Elegy revels in electro-tinged love songs and high-pitched synths that are guaranteed to transport you to the days of The Smashing Pumpkins’ classics. The familiarity – born from hypnotic riffs and the characteristic whine – carries throughout the album, but does so with enough variation in tempo and tone (coming from the rockers like ‘Anti-hero’) to be dynamic and fresh. This release proves time hasn’t weathered Corgan’s genius and the ’90s are truly back in vogue.
By Emily Hirst