Picks and Pans Review: Mary Star of the Sea
updated 02/10/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 02/10/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST
Billy Corgan's first new group since the Smashing Pumpkins disbanded in 2000 (not counting a brief stint with New Order in 2001) bills him as Billy Burke. Alias or no, the singer-guitarist sounds a lot like a Pumpkin in a different patch on much of Zwan's solid if not Smashing debut. Although Zwan is more of a straight-ahead rock band than the alternative Pumpkins, Corgan is still the mastermind, so the album boasts his same art/alt rock sensibility on songs such as the epic, 14-minute "Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea," with its progressive and psychedelic flourishes.
The quintet, which also includes former Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and ex-Chavez singer-guitarist Matt Sweeney, displays a knack for breezier pop on cuts such as "Endless Summer," while venturing into more folky territory on tracks like "Heartsong." The highlight, though, is Zwan's Stones-esque turn on the brooding ballad "Of a Broken Heart," on which Corgan does his best Jagger imitation.
BOTTOM LINE: Zwimmingly executed