Suspicious Package – Earl Greyhound

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Earl Greyhound first came onto my radar during their face-melting performance on Saul Williams’ Afro-Punk tour last year. Captivating the stage with their unwavering spin on 70s rock and roll, the Brooklyn threesome’s sophomore album Suspicious Package, out two days ago on their own label Hawk Race Records, only ups the ante.

Dually fronted by bassist Kamara Thomas and guitarist Matt Whyte, it is the combination of their howling voices paired with drummer Ricc Sheridan’s relentless percussive abuse that puts this band on top of the bluesy, hard-hitting tributes to the greats of the 70s.

Kicking the album off with the show-stopping, drug-fused opener, “The Eyes of Cassandra (Part 1 &2)”, Thomas shows off her vocal range with soft oohs over a trembling keyboard that quickly build into a spectacular psych-metal freak-out.

Uncompromisingly shredded vocals and gritty guitars don’t let up until “Shotgun,” where Thomas truly pushes her vocal power to the brink before pulling back and leaving a residue that should draw comparisons to the angstiest versions of Grace Slick or Robert Plant.

Whyte’s vocal prowess is showcased in slower tracks like “Bill Evans” and “Out Of Air”, which both switch gears towards singer-songwriter mode. “Misty Morning” finishes off the album with a Wolfmother intro of wandering guitar riffs, before transforming into (dare I say it?) a Gavin Degraw ballad. (We did say “tributes” to the greats of the 70s, after all.)

While there are a few throw-away tracks that lean towards the cheesy side (see “Sea Of Japan” and “Ghost And The Witness”), the album in its entirety is a welcome brand of revivalism for the Brooklyn front. It’s good to know that straight rock and roll isn’t quite dead yet.