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The Smashing Pumpkins, ‘Oceania’

"Oceania" is the Smashing Pumpkins album that people hoped for more than a decade ago. Instead, Head Pumpkin Billy Corgan screwed with his own brand, creating muddled records in the aftermath of alt-rock cornerstones "Siamese Dream" and "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." A few years ago, Corgan rebuilt the band with new members and finally marshals them through a solid hour of grandiose guitar rock. "Oceania" has a beatific glow with recurring spiritual themes and appeals to higher love. Corgan is still a prickly misfit, but dealing with it better, giving us such Corganisms as "You don't deserve me / but I deserve you." A classic-rock guy at heart, Corgan occasionally emulates Pink Floyd and the Who; but overall the Pumpkins leave an original stamp on this package. The washes of guitar buzz, the mood-setting deployments of strings and acoustic strums, and colorful bursts of keyboard noodling that the Pumpkins sprinkle throughout the album all gather together in the epic title track. It's nice to hear Corgan doing what he does best, even if it's late in the coming. (Out Tuesday)

ESSENTIAL: "Pinwheels"

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