With the Children's Hour. Monday, March 24, at the Agora Theatre.

  • Zwan
"Try, try, try," Billy Corgan moaned, shortly before his Smashing Pumpkins turned to mush. If history is any indication, he was most likely imploring the Little Mermaid's dad to turn him into a dolphin, but he might well have been talking to his future self: "Billy, when the Pumpkins break up and you form Zwan with your unlikely indie-rock pals, you must try to maintain the bombast kids everywhere love you for while killing some of the mad-scientist bloat that almost undid all that Machina music. A'ight?"

Believe it or not, Mary Star of the Sea, Zwan's studio debut after a year of sporadic touring, actually makes good on that resolve: It's an hour of wide-screen guitar rock that distills Corgan's talent down to its essence, junking the concept-album rigmarole to leave more room for that patented vertiginous guitar buzz.

The same ideas are still propelling Corgan: Spirituality looms large on the 14-minute title track, and his eternal dedication to rock's redemptive might charges the giddy "Baby Let's Rock!" (which Shania Twain obviously will never forgive him for writing first). But the bandleader sounds reinvigorated in a way he hasn't since Siamese Dream helped blow alt-rock wide open in 1993. No telling where Zwan will go in that amount of time, if it'll balloon to the same distended proportions the Pumpkins did; hopefully, Corgan will pen another memo to himself to consult when that day comes.

Speaking of Previews

Latest in Livewire

More by Mikael Wood


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • At the Movies — Nosferatu @ Severance Hall

    • Tue., Oct. 25
  • Dave Attell @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Fri., Oct. 28
  • Matt Johnson's Dueling Piano Fiasco! @ Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

    • Fri., Oct. 28

© 2016 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation