The Smashing Pumpkins fourth album Adore, released in 1998 is downright weird. As well as the departure of drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, gone are the guitars that graced their previous three albums, replaced by acoustic folk and synth pop. To Sheila, which opens the album features prettily picked acoustic guitar, and its a fine opener. It's followed up br the synth-grind of Ava Adore, which is probably the closest thing to their previous work, featuring (some) electric guitar. But Perfect which follows is pretty much a mixture of New Order and the Lightning Seeds, and it doesn't really suit Billy Corgan and co. In fact there are a few tracks (Daphne Descends, Appels + Oranjes and) which are in this vein, and none of them are terrible, but it's not what you want from a 'grunge' band is it?
The album works better on the slow strummy folk like Once Upon A Time, Crestfallen and The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete) which are quality pop songs. Not like anything Smashing Pumpkins produced before, but not bad. Tear, which when played live featured a searing guitar line, is neutered here, the guitars buried in studio effects. Shame. The awfully-titled Pug is better, almost like Gary Numan thanks to huge banks of oppressive synths. Towards the end, the eight minute For Martha displays some of the epic nature of previous albums. Beginning as a piano ballad, it builds to a swirling guitar anthem and is one of the better tracks, but otherwise there are few real standout songs here. The album is overlong at 16 tracks and 73 minutes, surely cutting it down to 10 tracks would have been better idea as the final three or four tracks (except For Martha) are not the most engaging. A brave attempt to broaden their sound, it doesn't quite succeed however.