Thursday, April 29, 2010

Earl Greyhound - Suspicious Package

Heavy, dark and groovy; these are the three best words to describe the trio of Brooklyn rockers known as Earl Greyhound. After the release of their debut album in 2006, Earl Greyhound has built a reputation for their amazing live shows and they have done a great job of capturing that aesthetic on this record. Frontman Matt Whyte, bassist Kamara Thomas and drummer "Big" Ricc Sheridan embrace both the sound and the style of the 70s. With influences including Led Zeppelin, Heart and Pink Floyd this band simply oozes the 'classic rock' vibe.

Decked out in vintage apparel Whyte has the lanky, long haired look straight out of Woodstock while Thomas sports an impressive old-school afro. Throw in Sheridan's staple sleeve-less denim shirts and you could imagine this trio of classic rockers were misplaced in history. This group isn't all style and no substance thou, with instruments in hand they have a timeless quality to their music that rocks just as much now as it did in the 70s.

On their sophomore album, Suspicious Package, the group delivers a mix of Detroit power rock, bluesy hard rock and old-fashioned soul in a tight 40 min package. Album opener "The Eyes of Cassandra (Parts 1 and 2)" starts out slowly with Thomas' cool vocals before spinning off into a six-and-a-half-minute psychedelic romp. There is a definite early-Floyd vibe flowing through the first part of the album that walks a fine line between influence and imitation.

The two standout tracks on the album have to be "Shotgun" and "Holy Immortality." Both tracks show off the great vocal talent Thomas and Whyte are capable of. There is also a level of garage-band recording value at work here that gives the album a great 'live gig' feel. It's easy to imagine the trio recording in an rundown shed as you listen to the screaming guitar riffs, driving drum lines and blues tinted lyric. I can almost feel the vibration of the bass during the first few chords of "Shotgun" as if I were in the room with them... and I love it!

The rest of the album isn't too shabby either and holds plenty of musical gems to peak any classic/hard rock enthusiasts' interest. The bluesy "Oye Yaya" and "Ghost and the Witness" both immediately jump to mind as must-hear songs. The haunting "Out of Air" is another track I find myself landing on frequently. "Flood won't let it fall, Sea's too deep for wrecking ball," Whyte sings, "I'm almost out of air, Can I start again?" The writing on Suspicious Package is top notch with plenty of variety and invention that requires multiple listens to really appreciate. Overall a very strong album from a band I'm sure will be on many 'best of 2010' lists later in the year.

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