Cyr | Smashing Pumpkins' homage to synth-pop
Cyr is the eleventh studio album from the American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It was released on November 27, 2020. This record marks a sharp turn in the band’s discography, moving from their alt-rock roots and delving into synth-pop territories. The band replaced the guitar and bass with synthesizers in most tracks, and drum loops permeate the record.
Music for the dance floor
The Colour Of Love is the first track of the album, with a driving bass riff paired with a dance-like drum groove. A heavily processed guitar (or a distorted synth) mostly sits in the background for ambiance, emerging only in the chorus. Apart from the vocals, it could be compared to a track from groups like Molchat Doma or Crystal Castles.
Love and time
Dulcet In E could be defined as a synth-heavy ballad, and it features an acoustic guitar strumming some chords. Some ethereal synths and a very “poppy” drum loop with a hearty injection of clapping. In some parts of the song Billy Corgan‘s vocals are backed up by a female voice, while towards the end, there are choir-like harmonies.
Old habits die hard
Among the softer and more pop-oriented songs, the track Wyttch stands out as a callback to the band’s heavier origins. The lyrics paint a mysterious picture, delving into esoterism and pagan rites. From a compositional standpoint, while still incorporating some electronic sounds, all the instruments (guitars, bass, drums) seem to be real. The distorted, chugging guitars and bass and the aggressive drumming make this track one of the most energetic on the record.
Sounds from the future
Looking at the record’s overall synth-pop sound, the band seems to have been inspired by a kind of cyberpunk and sci-fi mood. This is corroborated by releasing a series of animated shorts as music videos for some of the songs. These videos tell a loose story set in the future. Such themes, while used as musical inspiration, are not explored in the lyrics. Instead, these opt to be more down to earth, focusing on the theme of love.