The Elms - The Chess Hotel

Published Monday 29th May 2006
The Elms - The Chess Hotel
The Elms - The Chess Hotel

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 18562-10072
LABEL: Universal B000549802
RELEASE DATE: 2008-01-21
RRP: £12.99

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

Never a band known for its evangelising or sloganeering from stage, The Elms always seemed an uneasy fit in the Christian scene, preferring to take their music into the mainstream. A tour with Peter Frampton a couple of years ago was the first major step on the path that has propelled them into a mainstream record deal and the desire to play with the big boys. After a couple of years of quiet they unveil 'The Chess Hotel' and lyrically it isn't that far different from 'Truth, Soul Rock'n'Roll'. Main writer and frontman Owen Thomas still creates his lyrical conceits using the language of rock music and a few well chosen metaphors thrown in and leaves the audience to draw its own conclusion. If anything, they're better than before because they aren't forced to sanitise their sound for Christian radio and can rock out with the best of them. The opening salvo of the unrelenting "I Am The World" and raw blues-oriented "Who Puts Rock'n'Roll In Your Blood" immediately sets out their stall. Other standouts are the catchy "Nothing To Do With Love" and the stomping "She's Cold". I love "The Way I Will" which is a fabulous break up song and the quieter "Black Peach" which takes the intensity down a notch. But the overall feel of this album is that it's a blistering romp through classic rock, as much 1970 as it is 2006! Everything you love about The Elms is here but all the dials are turned to 11! The next question is whether enough people will love them to reimburse the multi-national for the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested or will they be one of hundreds of acts dropped after one major label release?

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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