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Chicago's Smoking Popes deliver another stellar batch of buzzsaw punk-pop anthems about love and love lost on their second major-label album. Josh Caterer's emotional crooning still sounds a lot like Morrissey's, but mopey teenagers would be much better off listening to the Popes than Moz, because the joy inherent in their tunes always points the way out for the worst case of the blues. (Just pogo a bit, and everything is sure to feel better.) "Let's hear it for promises and something sealed with a kiss/Let's hear it for big mistakes that you just couldn't resist," Josh sings in "Let's Hear It for Love," which is pretty much the band's theme song. But the group really won my heart with the cover of "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. How can you help but love these guys? --Jim Derogatis
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But really--if you like the Smoking Popes, you're gonna like this record. It differs from Born To Quit quite a bit, but it's still pretty awesome.
Let's hear it for the Smoking Popes.
*I actually knew Josh's wife and had the pleasure of meeting Josh one time at a party. He was, overall, a very cool guy and I find it very saddening that their music is the only memory they left behind for us.
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An absolute classic and a shame that so many people have never heard of this band.
If you're curious about the 'popes, this is a great place to start.
Recommend 'Born to Quit' and 'Live at Metro' as follow up purchases.