Billy Corgan likes being famous. Thinking he could take his popularity wherever he wished, he tinkered with the Pumpkins' sonics before breaking up the band. But following the commercial failure of a side project, Zwan, and a flop 2005 solo disc, he's returned to the Smashing moniker even though drummer Jimmy Chamberlin is the only other returning member (he was in Zwan, too). Moreover, the new disc tries to win back disenchanted fans by hewing close to the combo's classic sound — an approach that results in a listenable yet overly familiar CD underpinned with neediness.
The opener, "Doomsday Clock," finds Corgan operating in a mid-'90s comfort zone he seldom leaves. Many of the cuts feel like companion pieces to earlier offerings: "Bring the Light" recalls "1979," while the concluding "Pomp and Circumstance" has a "Tonight, Tonight" feel. There's nothing particularly wrong with these cuts, but even "Bring the Light," a crackling retro hook-o-rama, feels inessential. The CD's a massive do-over that's as fresh as yesterday's grunge.
It's tough to recapture the Zeitgeist.