Reviewed by Martin Purnell
In January this year I learned that one of my favourite bands, Del Amitri, had a new album for imminent release. Come Easter, when it finally hit the shops, I duly bought it. A week later I emailed their website to tell them it was pants! This, on the other hand, is the kind of album I was expecting from the Dels. Guitar-driven, lyric and vocal stretching and superbly produced. What's more amazing is that this is The Elms' "difficult" second album and their average age is only 22! For me, it is refreshing to hear a guitarist play the instrument in a variety of styles and with complete ease. Thom Daugherty's influences include Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), George Harrison and for crunching guitar chords, Sir Angus of Acdcland. Owen Thomas handles all the vocals. I like his range and tone but a Bon Scott he is not. The opener, "Speaking In Tongues", clearly demonstrates how tight and accomplished they are as musicians. Power chords all over the place with pounding drums from Owen's brother, Chris. It's a pity that this is the first track as Owen's voice is somewhat weak and hard rock is not his strength. It could leave you thinking that the other 11 tracks will be the same. However, I am pleased to announce that Owen's vocal abilities are clearly at home with less heavy guitar chords. In fact tracks like "Happiness" couldn't be sung better by anybody in the business. This CD will be kept in the player for a long time to come, it really is that good. The future is bright and the buzz Stateside is that they are going to break into the mainstream big time. Go and get the album now so that in a few years' time when everybody wants a slice of The Elms, you can say "I bought them before anyone had heard of them!"
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