The Elms are one of those many bands that I have heard people ‘name-drop’ many times, but up until I put ‘The Chess Hotel’ into my stereo I had never heard a single song by them. When I played the CD for the first time I was surprised by their style. I knew that I was putting a rock album into my stereo, and I was looking forward to it because I am a big rock fan. What I didn’t know was that The Elms style of rock is old style rock ‘n roll. Think The Who, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin style rock; real original rock.
It opens with the big drums and big guitar of I Am the World. This song really catchy, especially in the chorus with the declaration: “I am the world, and I am yours.” Fading into the next song, Who Puts Rock & Roll in Your Blood, The Elms set the listener up for the old style rock ‘n roll fest that is ‘The Chess Hotel’. This is just a fun song that really puts the listener in the mood for rock ‘n roll. Nothin’ to Do with Love sounds so much like the Rolling Stones that it may as well have been written by them. The next two tracks, Makes Good Sense and I Left My Body and Never Came Back, change the direction of the album slightly by being a little bit quieter and more poetic.
The Elms have certainly been very brave in resurrecting ‘60s and ‘70s rock ‘n roll from the confines of history. I am not convinced that in 2006 we need to bring back rock ‘n roll. Music has moved a long way in the past 30 years and if you want to hear what ‘70s rock sounds like go a get a record out of your dad’s collection in the basement. ‘The Chess Hotel’ is certainly a fun, catchy and well polished album – although I still find it weird for a young modern band to be trying to bring back the sounds of the past. But then again, that’s music for you.