It would seem that Smashing Pumpkins, who've been around for more than two decades, would have already endorsed the holiday where pumpkins reign. While the band played a Halloween show with KISS back in 1998 where they performed dressed up as The Beatles, Billy Corgan hasn't directly addressed the holiday or its spooky overtones directly, and rightly so. To do so would walk too dangerously along the line of kitsch that would be hard to recover from. For acts like Rob Zombie or Alice Cooper, for which every day is Halloween, a veneration of all things connected to All Hallows Eve is a part of the production, and product. While much of the Smashing Pumpkins' album art and concert imagery, not to mention guitar rock heaviness, might evoke a sense of "death rock" or "grunge in furs" that is most at home during the spooky season, Corgan and his band's music is more than just a trip down a misty goth rock lane. The latest album from Smashing Pumpkins, CYR, morphs their sound from a heavy "death rock" sound into an early 80s goth rock one that's loaded with synths, throbbing bass, and nary a guitar solo in earshot. The sonic landscape of CYR is more safely conducive to a dabbling in references to Halloween than their previous efforts.
So it's a little surprising that "Wyttch" is the heaviest track yet released from the upcoming album. Instead of going down haunting atmospheric paths blazed by goth rock progenitors like The Cure, Corgan steers the band back into more familiar guitar rock territory. While many songs on CYR evoke the same sounds that The Cure popularized, "Wyttch" is more akin to the Pumpkins' heavier guitar rock songs. Strings and straightforward guitar riffs propel the song along as Corgan sings about "...this harvest dread night/All Hallows Eve" while inviting "wicked spirits to come fly with me." The song's production squarely places it within the context of the rest of the album released thus far, but "Wyttch" stands out for sounding more like the classic Smashing Pumpkins' sound. It's the odd song out on an album of poppy synth driven tracks. That makes it the perfect candidate for Corgan's first song to reference Halloween.
Undoubtedly, "Wyttch" serves to further the narrative that Corgan is weaving with the themes on CYR, despite its standout differences with the rest of the album. "Wyttch" is a welcome addition (at least to this long termed fan) to an album that is for the most point pretty devoid of heavy guitar sounds at this juncture in its release. Who knows what other surprises Smashing Pumpkins have in store for us.