Smoking Popes - At Metro

19 songs
59:54 minutes
***** **


Who are the Smoking Popes? I must admit I never heard of them, although they released two albums on a major label in the mid-Nineties, were featured on the Clueless soundtrack album and must have been at least a little influential as there has been a tribute album in the past. Apart from that, it was rather quiet about the Smoking Popes, as lead singer Josh Caterer apparently devoted his faith more to religion than pop punk music, but then this year they are back with a live album on Victory Records after a seven year break.

Will people remember the Smoking Popes? I doubt that this will be the case in Europe, so for most people At Metro will be their first contact with the Smoking Popes, a band that played melodic pop punk before it was as big as it is now, and the listeners will be confused by the band's carefree approach to that music. True enough, the Smoking Popes can't deny a certain melancholia, but with a singer who sounds closer to Morrissey than to some whiny emo kid, they have already a much more mature appeal. Also their songwriting is deeply rooted in rock'n'roll music, and even if they can't deny a certain harmlessness to their sound, they always sound fresher and less clichés like any other contemporary emo band.

The Smoking Popes are an adult band that probably doesn't feel the pressure to prove themselves anymore, and you feel it on this laid back, good time emo pop punk live album. At Metro comes as a double CD/DVD feature, with the bonus DVD containing not only the songs from the CD, but the entire concert for your watching pleasure on your television. The camera is a bit conservative, and the lightning a bit dark and monotonous for my liking, but considering that most bands would sell a live concert as a regular 20 Euro DVD, this is truly value for money. I only wonder why the CD doesn't contain the entire show which is slightly under eighty minutes long and would have just fitted on a single CD disc.

Back to Reviews