Suspicious Package TPW003 - $3 plus S&H (probably $1.47)
No One and the Somebodies - Suspicious Package
I've been waiting for this album for what seems like forever now, and now that it's finally here, it's better than I ever could have imagined. Suspicious Package is downright epic. NOATS have matured tremendously since their first album, 2004's Pretend You're Out of Control - musically, lyrically, and conceptually. I say conceptually because although I'd hesitate to call this a concept album, it comes damn close. The politics evident on 2004 songs like "Riot on the Verizon" and "Smash the MTA" have bloomed into passionate, cathartic calls of desperation and hope (and to action). Themes and motifs of the "culture of fear" run throughout the album. But the politics don't weigh down the music, which itself shows a maturity, skill level, and interplay between band members that surpasses their older material. Much of the songs move away from the pop song structure, preferring instead to build and evolve, some reaching in excess of ten minutes. And the band throws everything into those songs - in terms of emotion and sincerity, but also in terms of musical ground. NOATS have always been open to experimentation and eclecticism (a guardrail features prominently as an instrument in more than one song), but Suspicious Package elevates this to a new level, and with tremendous success. There's noise freakouts, rattling cacophonies of percussion, jittery dancey bits, tinges of post-rock, screams, shouts, whispers, and a song with a flute called, well, "Flute." But not once does the album feel drawn out or overblown. The whole thing is immediate, urgent, and heartfelt. And despite perhaps having moved beyond the narrow set of parameters that define "punk rock," in spirit and sheer energy alone, No One and the Somebodies are still "punk as fuck."