Mary Star of the Sea

Billy Corgan is so intent upon differentiating Zwan from the sadly departed Smashing Pumpkins that he credits his performance on Mary Star of the Sea to the previously unknown "Billy Burke." It's a mo

Billy Corgan is so intent upon differentiating Zwan from the sadly departed Smashing Pumpkins that he credits his performance on Mary Star of the Sea to the previously unknown "Billy Burke." It's a move that initially smacks of pretension, but it's ultimately fair enough. He wants a fresh start as a member of a band that bares little resemblance to his indelible former unit. While Zwan sometimes displays the anguished heart of the Pumpkins, the band also has a leaner, upbeat sound that is, at times, downright sweet and playful. No one will ever mistake Corgan for a glowing ray of sunshine, but he sure knows how to craft a poppy hook—as evidenced on the giddy "Baby Let's Rock!" and the bouncy "Lyric."

Can Zwan make us forget about the Pumpkins? No. But it's nice to hear Corgan and his new comrades in such sharp form.—LF