355. Big Surprise – The Elms


The Elms

After being introduced to the market by way of an EP in 2000, The Elms hit the scene with their debut release, Big Surprise, one year later. Rhythm and Blues based rock and roll with a heavy influence of the Beatles and, most notably, the Kinks.  High energy Americana rock in the vein of Tom Petty and the Black Crowes is the centerpiece of this and the albums to follow.

“Hey, Hey” kicks off the album with a hand clapping and staccato rhythm guitar into and a monster hook similar to Kinks with a horn and string support influenced by the Beatles Abbey Road. This would carry the sound throughout  the entire project. Immediately likable and memorable hooks, but nothing trite and repetitive.

String arrangements are effectively used throughout as “Here’s My Hand” demonstrates. Here the more melodic side of Petty or Bryan Adams in evident and the song suspiciously similar to something The Kry may have done. This song was built for Chriostian radio and it’s a surprise that it wasn’t a major radio hit.

Other highlight include the hit “Lifeboat,” as well as the title track, the Oasis inspired “The Buzzing Won’t Stop” and the rocker “Who Got the Meaning.” The band would continue for a few more releases including two mainstream released titles before disbanding late in the decade. But before doing so they put on one very memorable performance at 2008’s Farm Aid concert appearing with Dave Matthews and a host of other headlining mainstream artists.

  1. Shawn McLaughlin
    October 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I loved this album but thought “The Buzzing Won’t Stop” was just an inversion of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”. I also hear some Bay City Rollers and Cheap Trick in places. Good influences, at the very least, they became less derivative on later releases.

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