Smashing Pumpkins: Cyr review – infinite flatness

Although Smashing Pumpkins are no strangers to synths, they have always remained a guitar band at heart. And yet Cyr, the second album since three-quarters of their “classic” lineup reconvened in 2018 (original bassist D’arcy Wretzky is still absent, although thankfully no longer in prison for horse-related offences), finds Billy Corgan setting the controls for the heart of 1982 with a full-blown synth-pop set.

Normally, such willingness to transcend genre boundaries would be commendable, but Cyr falls flat on so many levels. Lush textures abound, but there’s barely a memorable tune present, which makes the decision to release it as a 72-minute double album hubristic in the extreme.

Of the 20 phoned-in songs here, 19 are at best inessential, at worst actively irritating. The risibly titled Anno Satana (edgy!) finds the band sounding vaguely engaged, though Corgan spoils it with his opening line, “Did you know I’m a wanted man?”, which comes across like the blowhard posturing of a small-town bar-room bore. And while his whiny – there’s no nice way of describing it – voice by and large complemented the angsty aggression at play on 1993 career high Siamese Dream, here it sounds merely grating set against gentler soundscapes. Even the band’s frequently wheeled-out female backing vocals fail to sweeten this particular pill.