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Earl Greyhound 

Soft Targets (Some Records)

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Already getting pegged as America's answer to Wolfmother by some critics, New York buzz band Earl Greyhound shows flashes of ham-fisted '70s rawk brilliance on its debut album Soft Targets. Opener "S.O.S." swaggers like a vintage cut off of the searing 1973 debut by Montrose (back before Sammy Hagar sold his soul in exchange for global fame as hard rock's biggest asshat), with Matt Whyte's cocksure vocals and searing guitar riding the boomtastic, Bonzo-esque beats of drummer Ricc Sheridan. However, the intricate vocal harmonies between Whyte and bassist Kamara Thomas at the song's bridge show Earl Greyhound isn't simply going to ape Zeppelin's mighty riffs and hobbit-rock lyrics. Whyte may evoke pre-heroin spiral Jimmy Page better than any guitarist in recent memory with the precisely controlled chaos of his solos, but the balls-out bluster of "Monkey" and "Yeah I Love You" adroitly balance two-fisted fury and infectious, pop-savvy choruses. While the unabashed hooks heard on "Two Weeks" and "Like a Doggie" reveal a soft underbelly that will doubtless turn off some hard-rock fans, the band's mix of muscular grooves, affecting tandem vocals, and ear-pleasing melodies should soon make Earl Greyhound the subject of a major-label bidding war. — Dave Pehling

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