Search - Zwan :: Mary Star of the Sea

Mary Star of the Sea
Mary Star of the Sea
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

Billy Corgan is back - and he smashes all rock hype into understatement with Zwan. Arena-folk-metal-punk, a rampaging triple-guitar attack and pop melodies, glam grandeur and sophisticated twists, Zwan is the band he's ...  more »


Larger Image

CD Details

All Artists: Zwan
Title: Mary Star of the Sea
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 4
Label: Reprise / Wea
Original Release Date: 1/1/2003
Re-Release Date: 1/28/2003
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093624843627


Album Description
Billy Corgan is back - and he smashes all rock hype into understatement with Zwan. Arena-folk-metal-punk, a rampaging triple-guitar attack and pop melodies, glam grandeur and sophisticated twists, Zwan is the band he's wanted from the moment his Smashing Pumpkins hit the big time. Reprise. 2003.

Similar CDs

Similarly Requested CDs


CD Reviews

Thousands of lies upon lies upon lies."
Graeme Wallis | Newcastle, England | 04/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Misidentified as an alt-rock supergroup upon their conception, Zwan's one and only release is something of an enigma.

Comprised of Billy Corgan (singer/guitarist) and Jimmy Chamberlin (drummer) of The Smashing Pumpkins; Matt Sweeney (singer/guitarist) of Chavez; David Pajo (guitarist) of Slint and Tortoise amongst others, and Paz Lenchantin (violinist/live bassist) poached from Maynard James Keenan's (Tool) A Perfect Circle (who would conversely become something of an alt-metal 'supergroup' upon her departure), Zwan boasted a line-up of formidably talented and credible musicians who had worked on some of the seminal material of their generation.

Unsurprisingly however, things turned sour quickly. Opinions differed, egos clashed, mud was slung and the group disbanded acrimoniously with Sweeney, Pajo and Lenchantin going one way and the Pumpkins contingent defiantly going the other. What they left behind (along with an apparent abundance of unreleased material) was a strong, relaxed and confident album - albeit slightly overlong - of genuine quality, mixing elusive ballads (`Heartsong' and `Desire'), stomp-along pop rockers (`Lyric' and the Big Country-esque `Yeah!') and catchy tongue-in-cheek numbers (`Settle Down', `Honestly', `Endless Summer' and `Come With Me'). The band combine most effectively though, on the soaring title track which features exquisite guitar interplay between Sweeney and Pajo with a burning solo from Corgan and a bruising drum performance from Chamberlin.

However...whilst (as with so many other such projects) there is a case for arguing that Zwan could never amount to more than the sum of its parts, this is hardly a condemnation of their work when considering that the main component in the project was Billy Corgan. MSotS certainly plays closer to a Smashing Pumpkins album than Chavez or Slint and this is perhaps part of the problem. Although the guitars are intricately arranged and contain occasional glimpses of Sweeney's trademark `wash of distortion' sound, Pajo's skill with more progressive works and multifarious time signatures is lamentably underused. In short, it is an album boasting 2 math-rock icons but scant trace of math-rock itself, thereby ensuring that ultimately it would be looked upon far more favourably by neutrals and Pumpkins fans than those of the other associated acts.

Band breakups tend not to come as acrimonious as Zwan's either, with Corgan slating the others (excluding Chamberlin, who would reaffirm Corgan's indictment) in subsequent interviews, citing prima donna-type behaviour (conventionally reserved for Corgan himself!) and sleaze as a fatal flaw in the band dynamic: "The music wasn't the big problem, it was more their attitude...Sex acts between band members in public. People carrying drugs across borders. Pajo sleeping with the producer's girlfriend while we were making the record." (Chicago Tribune, 04/24/05) Pajo would refute the accusations.

For anyone seeking entry into the music of the participants' previous existence I would personally recommend:

The Smashing Pumpkins (Corgan & Chamberlin) - `Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness' (1995)

Chavez (Sweeney) - `Gone Glimmering' (1995)

Slint (Pajo) - `Spiderland' (1991)

Tortoise (Pajo) - `Millions Now Living Will Never Die' (1996)

A Perfect Circle (Lenchantin) - `Mer de Noms' (2000) [* `Thirteenth Step' is actually better but she only plays on the last track]"
This is a Great Album
Maggie Mae | Reno, Nevada | 04/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After a mere decade and the Smashing Pumpkins calling it quits in 2001, Singer Billy Corgan remerges with a great new band and release of the album "Mary Star of the Sea". The other members that he got together with also have had their own successes, like guitarist David Pajo (ex-Slint, Tortoise), guitarist/vocalist Matt Sweeney (Chavez) and bassist/vocalist Paz Lenchantin ( A Perfect Circle). It features the fourteen minute epic (in the typical Smashing Pumpkins vein) titled "Jesus,I/Mary Star Of The Sea" a somewhat overblown epic.

With their three guitar line-up it's not surprising that the songs on Mary Star of the Sea have a Big guitar sound, but unlike Corgan's previous releases he sounds more a peace with himself. Songs like "Honesty", "Settle Down", "El Sol" get better and better the more you listen to them. The song "Come With Me" ends the album in an anti-climatic manner but the overall vibe of the album is that it is a great album."
Billy Corgan's best work since Siamese Dream...or is it even
BigAnt | Ashburn, VA United States | 10/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The rebirth of the Smashing Pumpkins band name in 2007 unfortunately wedged the short-lived Zwan as a side project, or to the less generous, an afterthought in Billy Corgan's varied career. Corgan had denounced the band when he embarked on a solo career that proved even less successful and lasting than Zwan, and despite the band's sole album receiving critical acclaim, by this point Zwan is all but forgotten, which is a shame considering that they were a stronger musical unit than the Smashing Pumpkins ever were in their heyday (the Mellon Collie era arguably excepted).

None of the Zwan members seem to look back all that fondly on the experience, but they should at least be proud of Mary Star of the Sea, regrettably their only full-length release. For my money, the only Corgan release that's better and more consistent is the Smashing Pumpkins' sophomore release Siamese Dream...and as blasphemous as it sounds, there are some days where I actually prefer the Zwan record.

Most Smashing Pumpkins albums needed a couple of listens before they grew on me, but almost all of Mary Star of the Sea attracted me immediately. From the catchy, upbeat (is this really Billy Corgan?) singles "Honestly" and "Lyric," to the epic title track (mixed with an old hymn, "Jesus, I"; it certainly doesn't feel like 14 minutes) to the slower ballads like "Of a Broken Heart" and "Heartsongs," this album really delivers from one track to the next. You'll quickly find yourself playing air guitar to "Declarations of Faith" and bobbing your head to "Settle Down" and "Ride a Black Swan." But the highlight for me is "El Sol," which the credits say is a traditional hymn, although I've not been able to track down any other recordings. Certainly, they won't pack the same punch as the Zwan arrangement, which is a jaunty rocker that is sure to get stuck in your head.

Get the edition packaged with a bonus DVD--this disc essentially is a sampler of outtakes and songs that didn't find their way onto the album, and the snippets will make you hope that Billy Corgan will eventually allow bygones to be bygones and someday issue the "tons of music unreleased that will just sit in a box until [he] can stomach it.""