At first, you’re not sure you’re actually listening to an Earl Greyhound album.

“Eyes of Cassandra (Part 1)” is so unlike the muscular, guitar-driven sound that characterized much of their previous album, Soft Targets.  And before the song transitions into Part 2, there’s this segue that reminds me of a Brazilian shuffle, all drums and moans.

None of this is a bad thing.  What you get with Suspicious Package is a band that’s growing.  They've got the three-piece rock thing down and they now feel comfortable enough to stretch out a bit, and that makes for an album that gives the listener different flavors. For example, one thing you’ll notice is the prominence of Kamara Thomas on vocals.  On Soft Targets, Matt Whyte shouldered much of the vocal duties.  Here it feels more shared.  Kamara has become a more confident singer and it shows both when she’s providing harmonies as well as singing lead.  Certainly sharing singing duties in the Ghost Gamblers has only helped.

I’ve already raved about “Ghost and the Witness” and “Shotgun”.  If you listen to the three banger arc that starts with “Oye Vaya” and ends with “Shotgun”, don’t be surprised if you need to go out for a cigarette.

Nice, too, to hear Matt take on more ballads.  “Bill Evans” has a wistful vibe similar to  “Layla” as it was used in the movie Goodfellas.  And “Out of Air” is absolutely beautiful, haunting even.

Flood won’t let it fall
Sea’s too deep for wrecking ball
I’m almost out of air
Can I start again?

“Misty Morning” is a great song to end on.  It pulls you out of the introspection and melancholy that the previous songs, beautiful though they are, put you in.  A head nod washes all the blues away.

Bottom line: My hat’s off to Earl Greyhound.  With Suspicious Package, they’ve earned a spot on our Best of 2010 list.  They’ll be in a city near many of you between today and June and I’d suggest you check ‘em out if you get the chance.

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