The Smashing Pumpkins (Virgin)
Following the loud and furious sonic blast they served up on 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the Chicago-based Pumpkins seem shockingly quiet on their fourth studio album. Filled with minor-key melodies and only rare bursts from the guitars of top Pumpkin Billy Corgan and James Iha, Adore proceeds at a dirgelike pace as Corgan offers his meditations on loss, obsessive love and death. (One track, “For Martha,” is a eulogy for his mother, who died of cancer last year.) With one sometime bandmate lost to a heroin overdose in 1996 (tour keyboardist James Melvoin) and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin now gone from the group because of his own drug woes, Corgan, Iha and bassist D’arcy Wretzky seem to be in search of personal recovery here; and their stark, emotional music makes for uneasy—but ultimately rewarding—listening.
Bottom Line: The noisy crew gets reflective, to good effect