If I weren't wholly sure that some members of our government had already cornered the market on selling their souls to the devil, I'd be pretty positive Billy Corgan was rocking some of that action himself. After all, how can any one man, let alone any one man THAT EVIL LOOKING, write so many damn good songs? It happened with Smashing Pumpkins and so it continues with Zwan. The band may end up as close to the end of the Rock A-Z dictionary as theoretically possible, but luckily, the alphabet is not a ranking system for quality. Upon first listen, you may merely think this is a new Pumpkins record. However, further time spent with Mary Star Of The Sea lets you in on a little secret: young Billy actually sounds happy! The songs are poppy! And they still rule! Album opener "Lyric," "Declarations Of Faith," "Endless Summer" and primary single "Honestly" all rock in a Pumpkins matter, especially as skinsman Jimmy Chamberlain has a distinctive sound to his drum playing, but the various other Zwannies, culled from Chavez, A Perfect Circle and Papa M, have all added their own positively-flavored "je ne sais quoi" to provide the soundtrack to a new millennium, Corgan-style. We could be worse off.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN