Billy Corgan TheFutureEmbrace (Warner) It's been a couple of years since we last heard Bill Corgan's nasal tones, and that was on the majestic Zwan album. Poppy, light and fun, it was everything his alma mater band, The Smashing Pumpkins, were not. It owed a lot in its cheerfulness to Corgan's stint as guitarist with British 80s synth mammoths New Order. But that's all changed now, and whereas with Zwan Corgan hid his chrome dome beneath a floppy summer hat, he's gone back to the gaunt pained electro-goth more typical of the Pumpkins. Only this time, he doesn't seem to have made much effort on songwriting duties. Although there are moments of brilliance, the rest of TheFutureEmbrace is turgid, dull and just not befitting a man who composed the wonderfully lush Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Most of the album is drenched in an electronic wall of sound that makes you think perhaps the engineer was vacuuming as Corgan laid down the tracks. It's difficult to name any songs of note on this collection. His version of the Bee Gees' To Love Somebody stands out simply because, as far as ill-conceived novelty songs go, this takes the biscuit. It's not that the songs are so terrible, it's just that there's a sense of ennui about them and they reek of contractual obligation. Corgan has made no secret of the fact that he wants to get the Pumpkins back together again. On the strength of this solo effort, that day could not come too soon.