A lot has changed for the Pumpkins over the past year. Their 1998 release,
Adore fell short of expectations in terms of record sales. The album still mustered
up 3 million copies sold worldwide and a grammy nomination. In fall 1998, drummer
Jimmy Chamberlin returned to the band but only few really knew he was back. 
The Arising tour marked the official return of Jimmy and the start of rumours that
D'arcy would be quitting the Pumpkins-only to be confirmed in fall 1999. Now, the
Pumpkins have a new bassist, Melissa Auf der Maur, formerly of Hole, and a buzz
has been going around about their upcoming album thanks to a secret listening
party where radio industry insiders heard Machina-The Machines of God. It has
been said that Machina will go back to the old styles of "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
or "Today", but Billy Corgan constantly reinforces that the album will be "Smashing
Pumpkins 1999", "not Smashing Pumpkins 1992". Many fans know that you can never
outguess the Pumpkins but one thing is for sure, every Pumpkins album is unique,
they don't repeat themselves. When one listens to the album, it is evident to the
listener that sounds different than any previous Pumpkins work, it may have some 
influence from earlier work but it is definitely not "Siamese Dream 2". The album is
superb from start to finish. The album begins with the distortion infused radio hit,
"The Everlasting Gaze" and gets better from there. "Rain Drops and Sun Showers"
sounds like single material with it's catchy beginning "Rain falls on everyone", if not
it will suffer the fates of "Mayonaise" and "Pug" which were songs unheard by the 
masses. No one can help but be taken in by songs like "The Sacred and Profane"
, "This Time", or the Arising Tour favorite, "Wound". No Pumpkins album without the
epic song, as "Glass and The Ghost Children" surely is, a song which includes a 
distorted contemplative interlude reminiscent of the beginning of "The Aeroplane
Flies High". "Age of Innocence" is a perfect end to an album that should bring back
the Pumpkins to grace after the masses forgot them on the beautiful and underrated
Adore. And no one can forget one of the Pumpkins greatest songs and the current
single, "Stand Inside Your Love" which pulls you into the heart of Machina. This
album is a must buy even if you have the mp3s, because near-CD quality is not CD
quality. Machina is so good, a rating wouldn't do it justice.
By Steven Pukin
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