Bright electronics, Corgan's sitar, and heavy acoustic guitar strumming carries the day on the excellent and delicate ditty "A Stitch In Time." And the epic six-minute closer "A Song For A Son" harkens back to minor-keyed classics like "Angie"-era Rolling Stones and "Stairway To Heaven." With new drummer Mike Byrne (replacing founding member Jimmy Chamberlin) and Mark Tulin of the Virgin Prunes on bass, Corgan highlights it by letting those big, left-handed fingers fly all over the fretboard for a couple of glorious, wailing guitar solos. He then sings of a son, a sailor who "sailed without a map" to finish off this song and EP.
Who knows if that sailor ever knew or was comfortable with the direction he was going. As far as the Pumpkins and its Songs For A Sailor EP is concerned, it goes in four directions: nostalgic psychedelic guitar rock; pretty acoustic-based music; an epic ballad coupled with searing guitar; and (generic) pop rock.
It doesn't all work, as I've outlined above, but by the singer/songwriter's own admission, the best material is yet to come. In fact, the always prolific Billy Corgan has already written 53 songs for TBK, which he said recently recaptures the "psychedelic roots" of the Pumpkins, defined by him as "atmospheric, melodic, heavy, and pretty." Sounds promising, but let's hope the next EP does indeed recapture that Pumpkins' magic. This one is a fine first try but falls a little short of a strong SP release.