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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

A Generous Serving of Leftover Pumpkins Pie

*** THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, "The Aeroplane Flies High," Virgin

December 01, 1996|Richard Cromelin

The Smashing Pumpkins are anti-pack rats, clearing out their accumulated music with compulsive frequency: The band has released only three regular albums, and with "Aeroplane" it now has two odds-and-ends collections.

This box of five CD singles is designed as a limited-edition treat for hard-core fans--a premise that gives Billy Corgan and company a self-issued license to be indulgent. How indulgent? How about "Pistachio Medley," which sounds like someone channel-surfing through a bunch of instrumental riffs for 22 minutes.

Of course, this kind of project doesn't offer the intentions and expectations of a normal album. And "Aeroplane"--which supplements the five singles from "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" with an assortment of B-sides--delivers on the premise, with tracks ranging from casual-sounding takes to fully formed, album-worthy productions and moods swinging from tender to tortured.

There are also previously unreleased versions of songs by Alice Cooper, the Cars, Blondie, Missing Persons and the Cure--acts the Pumpkins would have absorbed as '70s kids coming of musical age in the '80s. It all ends with a plaintive interpretation of "My Blue Heaven" by rock's quintessential melancholy baby. (The band plays at the Pond of Anaheim on Dec. 9 and 10, at the San Diego Sports Arena on Dec. 12, and at the Forum on Dec. 18.)

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

* TimesLine 808-8463

To hear excerpts from the albums reviewed, call TimesLine and press * and the artist's corresponding four-digit code. The Smashing Pumpkins *5716

In 805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.

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