- by Christophe Vanheygen
Seriously, why is nobody talking about the new Smoking Popes record? They’re back in their original lineup and despite doing nothing new, it’s just really, really good.
Sure, the album lacks a hit song like ‘I Need You Around’, but we’re not in 1995 anymore, Toto. You only get hit songs if you mumble your way through some brandnamedropping and references to drugs and/or sex.
Really, it’s refreshing to hear the real masters of college rock at work. Josh Caterer sounds a little less Morrissey-y but still fresh and young. The rest of the band feels inspired and most of the songs are just cleverly written punky pop tunes with that wonderful melancholy we’ve all come to expect from the Popes.
Not every song is as ridiculously good as opener ‘Simmer Down’. ‘Get Happy’ is a little too sappy, ‘Little Lump of Coal’ feels somewhat Christmassy in vibe and the politically inspired ‘Melting America’ is catchy, but lyrically it seems to lack Caterer’s simple, powerful poetic prowess.
That’s a shame, because those few nitpicky points of criticism are the only things keeping me from scoring this album with a monstrous 9 outta 10.