When it comes to reunited bands, the list of those with more to offer in the way of new material than nostalgia is a very short one. Try and think of 10 and it could prove as patience-trying as the new Smashing Pumpkins album.
Having written some of the great rock songs of the 1990s, Billy Corgan's decision to embark on a quest for the sound of past glories - without guitarist James Iha and bassist D'arcy Wretzky - but with drummer Jimmy Chamberlain is a wasted journey by someone whose powers as a songwriter have waned in recent years
Since he broke up the Smashing Pumpkins in 2000 Corgan has flitted between brands, devaluing his talent in the process. He formed the 'indie supergroup' Zwan but after one solid album they split acrimoniously. Then came Corgan's solo career and debut album, 'The Future Embrace', an excruciating record which was so far removed from what he is capable of that you wondered whether it was a different artist.
Corgan believed that with the songs on 'The Future Embrace' he had, "created something relatively fresh and vibrant and exciting to my ears", but it was staggering to realise how wrong he'd got it once you'd heard the album. No sooner was it released than Corgan wrote, "I want my band back, and my songs, and my dreams" - as if he was somehow powerless to keep them in the first place.
Now, two years later, we have 'Zeitgeist', but the hopes that it would represent Corgan getting his groove back evaporate the longer it goes on. And the fact that it's only himself and Chamberlain from the original line-up - and they've already worked together in Zwan - leaves a bad taste.
The weakest of The Smashing Pumpkins' albums, there is nothing on 'Zeitgeist' that would make a Best Of. Corgan has even written better B-sides than what's on offer here - a fact confirmed if you play this record and 1994's 'Pisces Iscariot' compilation back to back. Sounding like someone who's unsure of what made his band special in the first place, Corgan is overly hung up on bludgeon, but the volume never comes close to the spirit of old, while the few slow songs fail to tug the heartstrings like he once did so well.
There's no satisfaction to be had in hearing someone coming up with mediocrity like this - it would've been such a joy to hear Corgan create another classic. Instead, 'Zeitgeist' sounds like a cover band's attempt to make a Smashing Pumpkins album and will only trap Corgan in an even bigger nostalgia bubble
After the last few years where he goes next is anyone's guess. But an acoustic guitar, some of his old CDs and a lot more thinking time is a suggestion.
To buy 'Zeitgeist' from the RTÉ eshop click here.