Before I bought this I’d read a good collection of reviews that portrayed this album as the best thing that Corgan has done since the original lineup of the Pumpkins released Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. On the whole, despite the fact that I actually like the quirkiness of Zwan, that sentiment is spot on. The musicianship on Oceania everything a proper “Smashing Pumpkins” album should be; swirling melody, whipsmart guitar and Corgan’s nasally voice soaring in between the hotes. What’s different, though, are the lyrics and the general atmosphere of the album as a whole. Instead of a man standing with guitar and hand and telling you how he feels at this particular point in his life (rat in a cage, etc.) Oceania is the work of a man (and his band) searching for something.
Oceania seems not so much a destination as a document of Corgan’s musical and emotional journey over the past few years. While I can’t recommend that you throw all of your other albums aside and listen to this and only this, I can certainly tell you that it is the first Pumpkins record and flat out “guitar rock” records in a decade worth paying attention to.