Smoking Popes: Born To Quit [Album Review]

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Smoking Popes
Born To Quit [Reissue]
SideOneDummy Records [2012]

Fire Note Says:  One of the more underrated albums from the 90’s alternative nation gets a facelift.

Album Review:  If you pinned me down and made me list several albums from the 90’s that I still go back to on occasion I guarantee that the Smoking Popes sophomore record Born To Quit would make the list. Well, the fine folks at SideOneDummy records must have had the same thought as the 1995 record gets a facelift with new artwork, remastering and reissued with two unreleased bonus tracks.

The band’s stylish blend of indie, punk and lounge is still unique today and there is no better record in the group’s catalog to showcase their talents. The rocking trio of “Rubella”, “Just Broke Up” and “Need You Around” still play as strong today as they did back then while I find new respect for the slower closing burner “On The Shoulder”. The two bonus tracks add to the record as the duet “Blanket In The Park” has the same catchy fun vibe as “Gotta Know Right Now” and their cover of Willie Nelson’s “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground” works fine in this more revved up version complete with Josh Caterer’s calm and confident vocals.

If you have this album originally and have been a fan I don’t think it will be a waste to pick this version up for your collection. The remastering is nice but not essential, however I did enjoy that this version contains liner notes from Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio), Joe Shanahan (Manager) and Kyle Kinane (Superfan) plus an interesting track-by-track analysis from Josh Caterer. This is where you learn that Caterer read “Rubella” off a doctor’s office chart and thought it sounded like a girl’s name and how Q101 in Chicago started playing “Need You Around” which Caterere thought was a weird track to play but fully admits he was glad the band was not part of the decision process. It is hard to believe that Born To Quit is 17 years old but you can never go wrong taking this album for a spin as it sounds as fresh today as it did back then!

Key Tracks: “Rubella”, “Just Broke Up”, “Need You Around”

Artists With Similar Fire: Weezer / 7 Seconds / Love Jones

Smoking Popes Website
Smoking Popes Facebook
SideOneDummy Records

-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony

Christopher Anthony

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