William Patrick Corgan is off to a promising start.
Label: Martha’s Music/BMG
Released: 13th October 2017
‘Ogilala’ is Billy Corgan’s latest step in a 25+ year career but it’s the first for William Patrick Corgan. The album is his second strictly solo venture, and it finds the Smashing Pumpkins frontman indulging in something a bit more intimate.
Built on a simple foundation of strings, acoustic guitar and piano as well as Corgan’s distinctive vocals it’s a sweet collection of reflective ballads. Of course, it’s filtered through Corgan’s unique prism and is filled with the sort of mythical, philosophical lyrics that have characterised his work. “Take me as I am” he sings on ‘The Spaniards’ and indeed, this may be the most personal and honest work he’s put his name to in years.
Freed from the pressure of being a rock icon, Corgan is liberated from crunching riffs and endless solos which allows the beauty in his voice to blossom. Tracks like ‘Processional’ and ‘The Long Goodbye’ are examples of his finest writing, and his melodic touch is sure throughout.
A full album of simply Corgan’s voice with little other instrumentation could be considered grating, and it would probably benefit from being a bit shorter, but Rick Rubin’s sympathetic production and subtle musical adornments help keep it compelling. Billy may be dead, but William Patrick Corgan is off to a promising start. Martyn Young