Review: Smoking Popes Tribute

“Smoking Popes Tribute”
(Double Zero Records)

I didn’t even know the Popes broke up.  I always kind of liked them, didn’t you?  I mean, “Need You Around” was pretty cool.  They were punk-inspired pop before such a thing was popular and they did it better than most.

This tribute album features a brilliant cover of “Megan” by everyone’s favorite side-project, Bad Astronaut.  Joey Cape’s vocals really do justice to Josh Carterer’s (former Popes’ frontman) haunting style.

Carterer’s new band, Duvall, in a fit of musical masturbation, covers one of his own songs (“Do Something”), which comes off as a success due to its stripped-down simplicity.  In what can only be described as an auditory circle jerk (sorry for all the crude metaphors and similes), the Popes’ drummer, Mike Felumlee also covers one of his own tracks, serving up a rather Jets to Brazilish version of “Don’t Be Afraid”.

Rounding out the album are a few decent efforts by Notaword (“Off My Mind”), Junction 18 doing a punky version of “End Of Your Time”, and the irrepressible Ataris doing a melancholic “Pretty Pathetic” (plus a few hidden songs thrown in for fun), full of lilting pianos and softly strummed chords.

I feel sad the Popes broke up but I’m pretty stoked that they’ve got a good tribute album.  It’s a nice requiem, don’t you think?