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I WILL HAVE TO RESERVE judgment on the Smoking Popes’ Born to Quit (Discography, 7/14) until I get to spin it a few times. But any band that is called power pop and “sounds…like the Ramones fronted by Morrissey” (sounds more like Sammy Davis to these ears) is either breaking new ground for the genre or simply totally misguided in its archetypal sources. The Popes would also be sporting the shortest haircuts in the field.

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I also find myself scratching my head in disbelief to hear that the Popes “are better than” Pezband and the Scruffs. (The other band mentioned in this vein, Piper, gave the world Billy Squier. Thus, they cannot be forgiven.) The former probably put out the best power pop album ever to come out of Chicago (if you don’t count Shoes from Zion, Ill., which is the most criminally neglected band imaginable). And the Scruffs’ one album, Wanna Meet the Scruffs?, is a classic which will soon be re-released with additional tracks. Will the Smoking Popes inspire this necessity in 20 years?

Olney, Md., via the Internet