From the opening chords on "Underrating the Recluse," the first track on Pope Factory's self-titled disc, the Toronto band blends their modern rock with straightforward pop sensibilities and beats. The result, while not groundbreaking, is generally impressive. The second track, "Channeling Ringo," includes various musical changes, resulting in the most excitingly catchy track of the disc. The sound is similar to the fuzzy pop/rock of Mercury Rev. The opening of "Smug" is probably the most relaxed moment on the disc, with a bed of noise laying underneath the intricate opening guitar line. "The Wait" clocks in at nearly ten minutes, combining grunge, psychedelic, and experimental influences in an interesting sound collage. A hidden track closes out the disc. That final track is extremely edgy and more frantic than the rest of the album, possibly hinting at Pope Factory's future. The songs on Pope Factory were recorded live by Robin Aubé in a week at Grant Avenue Studio. Guitarist and vocalist Scott Warren leads the assault, with drummer Andrew Skinner and bassist Peter Muha filling out the rhythm section. Guitarist Matt Hollingshead left the band soon after the album's recording. Buffalo Fire Records released the disc in 1999.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer