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SMOKING POPES – ‘Into The Agony’ Album Review

SMOKING POPES – Into The Agony

Smoking PopesSmoking Popes are from Chicago and were formed in 1991. The band’s signature sound is pop-infused indie-punk featuring the unique, crooning vocal stylings of lead singer Josh Caterer. Since their inception the band has released seven studio albums and has toured/shared the stage with acts like Green Day, Bayside, Jimmy Eat World, Jawbreaker, Tripping Daisy among others.

The ten-track album, Into The Agony, begins with a hugely catchy power-pop-punk ditty, Simmer Down with a superb melodic chorus and some Green Day-esque riff work on top of a solid rhythm section – it’s damn good!!! The follow up, I Can Feel You channels a bit of the Gaslight Anthem with a rocking love song that showcases the bands knack for delivering some punky energy to songs with radio airplay ready sounds!

With Amanda My Love, the lengthier approach allows the Smoking Popes to build from a vocal and guitar opening to a punchy pop/punk effort that has elements of The Replacements and The Plimsolls with a booming bass line that drives the song along. On When You Want Something the Smoking Popes deliver another four-minute plus effort and this one has a mid-paced beat with a ballad like feel replete with a powerplay chorus with a hint of Weezer whilst Get Happy rocks things up (literally with an Eddie Cochran rock ‘n roller).

No Tomorrow Tonight blends those melodic, plaintive vocals with a stuttering beat and power chords and Little Lump Of Coal is a pounding and massively harmonious protest song that we simply adored and the follow up, Wish I Didn’t Love Love blends serrated guitar chords with a Roy Orbison style rocking ballad…and that is massive compliment. These folks are catchier than the ‘flu!!!

The penultimate track, Melting America, has some country-punk background and melodic vocals delivering a super message about the contradictions of the so-called religious right and the turning away of refugees…With. Xxxxxx xxxxxx on guest vocals this one had the hairs standing up on the back of my neck – Billy Bragg meets Bruce Springsteen and the punch is hard and true!!!

This terrific album concludes with Someday I’ll Smile Again with a mournful vocal and guitar opening full of longing and, although the song describes hope, the delivery just makes it a sad song very well constructed and leaning into that Weezer sound.

 

This is one fine album and, if you like some melody with your punk and protest, get Into The Agony by Smoking Popes here:- http://asianmanrecords.limitedrun.com/products/625257-smoking-popes-into-the-agony

 

 

 

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