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This Is Only a Test

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iTunes Review

Three years since their last album of original material, Smoking Popes return with a concept album about the life of an everyday teenager. Singer and songwriter Josh Caterer masterfully slips behind the eyes of his younger self to imagine a time when crushes were mysterious and a matter of life or death, when being a punk rocker meant his self-identity. All of this is brought together with great melodies and a tight band crunch. More straightforward than Weezer and with a flow as natural as the Ramones or the Descendants, Smoking Popes have never lost their punk-pop cred. “Diary of a Teen Tragedy” features a dramatic soliloquy. “Excuse, Me Coach” strips the sound down, as the singer admits he can’t imagine doing yet another push-up. “I’ve Got Mono” is a very funny upbeat tune about coming down with the dreaded sickness. “Letter to Emily,” with a complementary cello, ends things with a melody worthy of Paul McCartney. Chilling.

Customer Reviews

The Popes Rock!

I've been waiting for a new SP album for a long time and This Is Only a Test is just fantastic! Josh's lyrics and vocals ice the cake on this great album!
Definitely grammy material here. Love this 1 !!!

Typical Popes------KILLER

I have been listening to the Popes for what seems like about 20 years. The reality is that when a new album comes out you know what you will get, super well written, catchy and well thought out songs.....Never had a disappointment ever from them. JUST AWESOME. SInce moving to Chicago, its been great that now I can see them play live quite a bit around here which is even cooler.

I was so happy when they got back together before recording Stay Down, and now that This is only a Test is out, I couldnt be more stoked. The Popes are one of those bands where i find myself scratching my head wondering how is it that they went thru all these years without being a very large commercial success? How the hell have the masses not latched onto them? Then I remind myself that the state of music has been crap for years and Im glad the Popes haven't become what current popular music is......

Hometown Heros, The Popes are still one of the greatest bands and consistent bands I have ever heard.

New Popes Is Good Popes

Of course I bought this without even listening to any tracks. The Popes are great, I have seen them a bunch and have almost everything they've recorded. This release is strange. It's a concept album which makes it fun and "young" but in a clever way. The good news is, these songs aren't preachy or heavy handed. The bad news is, there are some misfires. Check out WISH WE WERE, HOW DANGEROUS and FREAKIN OUT if you are looking for Destination Failure kind of songs. Keep making great music guys and we'll see you in Brooklyn in May.


Formed: 1991 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Smoking Popes' take on punk-pop was centered around lead singer Josh Caterer, whose obsessions with big-band records and black-and-white movies on the American Movie Classics channel led him to develop a vocal style that was unique in the punk world. The Popes sounded like a loud, guitar-based band fronted by a lounge singer, mixing uptempo rock with laid-back vocals and lyrics with an old-time romantic feel. The rest of the band, which formed in the Chicago area around 1991, consisted of Josh's...
Full Bio
This Is Only a Test, Smoking Popes
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