In Our Bedroom After the War
(Arts and Crafts)
This time around, lead vocalists Amy Milan and Torquil Campbell mostly ditch Set Yourself on Fire’s mopey-duets model and instead pass the mic between songs. The change allows Campbell to flirt with everything from Bee Gees falsetto disco (“The Ghost of Genova Heights”) to Aqualung-esque piano ballad douche-baggery (“Barricade,” which will no doubt be coming soon to a Grey’s Anatomy denouement near you), but it’s to the detriment of the album.
Closest to the band’s best dynamic is probably “Personals,” a catchy back and forth that works for exactly as long as it takes you to realize it’s more or less the bummer-fied version of “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).”
This is the wuss-rap album Common’s been threatening to make for years. Not to say every hip-hop artist must affect a Wu Tang swagger, but Common is name-dropping Finding Nemo and rhyming “gay” with “dude from N’Sync-ay,” for God’s sake. A trilogy of decent songs at the album’s center (“Southside,” “The Game,” and “Black Maybe”) might be enough to save the album from premature ejection and to keep you from missing the excellent J Dilla reappropriating “So Far to Go.”
Considering all that’s left of the original Pumpkins lineup are Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, this would be more honestly (and accurately) labeled Zwan’s sophomore-slump record. Corgan had the sense to leave most of the damn synthesizers at home, but, unsurprisingly, he’s also misplaced the dynamic that made the Pumpkins, for two albums anyway, one of the ’90s best bands.
Guitars are back at least, but the shoe-gaze atmospherics are gone, replaced by wank-off solos and crappy nü- metal riffs so generic it’s basically pointless to discuss the album’s songs individually. Corgan’s vocal work, never the band’s strong point for sure, is about all that’s