Album Review: Smoking Popes “This Is Only A Test”

smoking_popes

Artist: The Smoking Popes
Album: This is Only A Test
Genre: Emo / Post-Hardcore
Label: Asian Man Records

It may be 2011, but This is Only A Test takes you back to the golden days of emo and post-hardcore and could easily be masked as a long lost Smoking Popes album. This album is a rare gem, it is a story that makes you start the album and never skip a track to find out the adventures of the narrator. This is Only A Test tells the tale of a high school boy and his struggles with love, life, and figuring out who you are with your heart on your sleeve. This could very well be the coming of age album for a generation that was robbed of this genre during it’s golden years.

The album starts off with lead singer Josh Caterer channels his inner high schooler (possibly himself?) singing about having a crush on a girl that he can never quite get to like him back with the opening track “Wish We Were”. This becomes a recurring theme throughout the album as he finally gets her in the next track “How Dangerous” then later, loses her and mourns in “Diary of a Teenage Tragedy” and “Excuse me, Coach”. However, he eventually wins the girl over, and later in the album expresses heartbreak when his teenage love eventually comes to an excruciating end.

However, this album doesn’t just scream teenage angst and lust/heartbreak. It also chronicles the tales of the narrator’s need to rebel against society in the albums lead single “Punk Band”. However cute and catchy it may make punk music seem, the narrorator talks abou breaking his arm and sleeping in the floor of his band’s tour van. Without a doubt, there is an obvious throwback to the early nineties Smoking Popes with the sound of this track. My one complaint is that this is an incredibly weak first single off an incredibly wonderful album.

Overall, this album is a very nostalgic look back into the Smoking Popes discography, and considering it could easily be sold as a never before released album that was written back in the era of Destination, Failure that’s a huge comeback. This album only runs approximately 40 minutes long, which leaves you wanting more after the final track comes to a close. As a longtime Smoking Popes fan, I can easily say this album is worth picking up at your local record store. Kudos to the Popes for bringing back a sound that is dearly missed.

Score 8.5/10

Laura

I'm a 22 year old retired scenester who loves music more than most people. I work in College Radio and I was once told I'm the future of the music industry.

my favorite band is Alkaline Trio and I have a tattoo to prove it.

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  • Eric Johnson

    Idk who all these “new” writers are, but where the fuck is Nerrissa? I only came to this site because she was legit… These other ones don’t compare AT ALL.