Local Wire

Smoking Popes

If the most enduring proto-emo bands were the ones that wrote the best hooks, Smoking Popes would be right up there with the Promise Ring and the Get Up Kids. Like those groups, the Popes' penchant for melody resided solely on the shoulders of a lead singer (Josh Caterer) with a consummate croon that drowned out his peer bands' sneering. After a seven-year hiatus, the Popes are making a welcome comeback with Stay Down. The 12-song LP is being released on Kansas City's Appeal Records (formerly called Curb Appeal), home to the New Amsterdams and Blackpool Lights, as well as Patrick Park and Barcelona. While other '90s-at-noon staples such as Weezer and the Smashing Pumpkins have become cheap imitations of their former selves, the Popes just keep doing what they do: pitch-perfect pop-punk made purely for the joy of it. For these fumigating pontiffs, the choir still rejoices.
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Richard Gintowt