As the brain behind Smashing Pumpkins, William ‘Billy’ Patrick Corgan has cemented himself as a generation defining talent. Ogilala is his second solo record, and potentially his most accessible and enjoyable collection yet.
Right from the get go of Zowie, the world of Corgan feels cosy and inviting. Harsh news and harsher people are soon replaced by a voice that is the closest thing on earth we have to Bowie. Corgan’s voice flows between stages of falsetto which are offset by deep piano, giving a wholly introspective and reflective tone.
Much of the album is piano led, the opening of Aeronaut aptly encompassing the enormity of space both physical and emotional. Mandarynne sticks to much the same formula, but rather than grow tiresome each track flows expertly in to the next. Themes are vague, but this refusal to be precise allows for a lot of emotional creative license.
Corgan opts for guitar on Shiloh – not a track about Angelina Jolie’s child. Instead it provides one of the more uplifting moments, as Corgan is flanked by a myriad of strings that collectively build to a heartwarming climax. It mirrors a close bond felt between two people but not necessarily a romantic connection, something that is rarely the focus of modern music; making a refreshing change.
Oglala is not something I expected to enjoy, but there’s something magic in the melodies and words that has seen it sneak into a serious contender for album of the year. It may not be the most scintillating or cutting edge, but it’s autumnal feel is perfectly poised for the current climate.