[Martha's Music / Rocket Science; 2011]

Retaining one’s fandom of The Smashing Pumpkins can be quite a challenge. Sure, many can’t get enough of Billy Corgan’s antics and never cease to wait with baited breath for the next song, but not everyone is up to the task. A larger than usual proportion of fans seems to call it quits upon every release, and who can forget the frequent reports of audience heckling at those not-really-reunited reunion gigs?

According to Billy Corgan, the only remaining original member, the album is dead, or at least in the traditional sense. The tenth and latest track to be released from the 44 song monstrosity-in-progress Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, is “Owata,” which has been a live staple in recent years, but in a drastically different acoustic form. Compared to its live, stripped-down form, “Owata” is a sleekly produced pop-rocker characterized by acoustic guitar melodies and upbeat synths straight out of the 80s. There are no layers of guitar noise to be found here; “Owata” is another departure from the “classic” Pumpkins sound. It’s a pleasant song and an admirable effort, but it’s a little too glossy and not quite catchy enough to achieve the anthemic heights for which it aims. Corgan might be a highly divisive figure that inspires love or hate, but “Owata” occupies the middle ground.