Ex-Smashing Pumpkin man teams up with David Pajo, formerly of Slint

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Zwan – Mary Star Of The Sea

In 1992, Billy Corgan and guitarist Matt Sweeney decided to form a band, once Corgan had completed his prog-grunge masterplan with Smashing Pumpkins.

Ten years later their plot has come to fruition. With the four-piece Zwan, Corgan is aided and abetted not just by the aforementioned Sweeney (ex-Chavez and Skunk) but also by drummer and longtime musical foil Jimmy Chamberlin, as well as guitarist/bassist David Pajo, formerly of Tortoise and the highly regarded Slint.

The results sound as if Corgan has plundered a few moves from Dave Grohl, since the songs keep one boot in heavy metal but mostly get straight to the point while piling on the hooks and harmonies.

Corgan’s macabre whine of a voice will never be pretty, but songs like “El Sol”, the scintillating “Ride A Black Heart” or the country-ish “Come With Me” are blisteringly effective. For Pumpkins-fanciers, the title track proves that symph-rock never died.