Martha's Music/Reprise - 2005 - 45 minutes

Just as his solo debut was released last month, Billy Corgan put full page ads in Chicago newspapers, stating his desire to "renew and revive" the band he made his name with, Smashing Pumpkins. What appeared at the time to be a bad case of self-sabotage now looks like sound judgement: 'TheFutureEmbrace' is a dud. A big one.

With the Smashing Pumpkins Corgan made his most underrated - and arguably best - album when he revealed his synth influences and softest side on 'Adore'; here that combination results in a trudge that will drive you straight back to the solace of that record.

Overproduced and lopsided with fussy electronics, at times 'TheFutureEmbrace' sounds like it was either made by robots or created for use on a catwalk, not a stage. While undoubtedly heartfelt, it's still the most unremarkable album Corgan has ever released, his talent dimmed by a collection of songs that test but never reward patience.

The Cure's Robert Smith guests on a beggars belief mauling of the Bee Gees' 'To Love Somebody', but he's so far down in the mix that it may as well have been Orville the Duck. If Corgan's still pondering his next move, a full-page apology could be an option.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: All Things Change - Mina Loy (MOH) - The Cameraeye - ToLoveSomebody - A100 - DIA - Now (And Then) - I'm Ready - Walking Shade - Sorrows (In Blue) - Pretty, Pretty Star - Strayz