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Monuments to an Elegy

Billy Corgan cheers up (sort of) and turns up the synths

Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan poses for a portrait in promotion of the band's new album "Monuments To An Elegy" at BMG Chrysalis, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Dan Hallman/Invision/AP)

Dan Hallman

For all his world-is-a-vampire nihilism of years past, Billy Corgan has been sounding shockingly well-adjusted lately. Still, the Great Pumpkin’s deep dive into synth pop on Monuments to an Elegy – the latest installment in his band’s multi-album cycle Teargarden by Kaleidyscope – is a surprise. Corgan’s characteristically acidic vocals make sure that songs like the New Wave-y “Dorian,” the Killers-ish “Run2Me” and the cloying “Anti-Hero” are as much Pumpkins as they are pop. And the record’s sole grunge grinder, “One and All (We Are),” sounds hopeful without losing its bite.

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