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Studio: Universal South
Record Label Universal South
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 5.55" Width: 4.97" Height: 0.54" Weight: 0.18 lbs.
Release Date May 31, 2006
Publisher EMI- CMG DISTRIBUTION #36
ISBN 0012347884 ISBN13 0060249885943 UPC 602498859438
Reviews - What do customers think about The Chess Hotel?
You Won't Regret This One Mar 14, 2007
The Elms put out so-so efforts on their debut and sophomore albums, but they really broke their shell this time. The Chess Hotel is a masterpiece, and nothing less. Channeling the classic Rhythm & Blues with 80s rock and modern pop appeal, you're checking out an album that reflects upon Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, JET, and The White Stripes. What The Elms push on The Chess Hotel is a revival of what JET can't quite seem to capture. Many music critics would claim The Chess Hotel is what it means to write a rock album that is solid gold. While "I Am The World" pull the White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" glaze, other tracks drive south to the dirty blues with "Who Puts Rock and Roll In Your Blood?" and "The Chess Hotel". "Black Peach" is the soft rock reminder of a girl who yurns to stand out and be noticed by boys so that she doesn't feel alone. The disc walks between making statements about rocking and then crosses into testimonials of people they know and how their lives are lived for such petty things. "She's Cold!" breaks the main themes by discussing a girl that is described as "a killer, a real cold killer" and later "a monster" for playing with hearts like they're children's toys.
Overall, this album should have broken into the mainstream. It may not have hit major platinum success, but critics would have praised it, no doubt. It's a shame that some of these smaller label bands don't get the exposure they deserve. This is one band that would tear apart every other rock album of 2006. Shame shame, a real diamond in the rough is what you'll find on The Chess Hotel.
More rockin' than the last! Nov 5, 2006
On their latest album to date, The Elms DEFINE what rock and roll is. Every track on the album is as good as the last and each one distinguishable from eachother on the first listen. Best if listened to with the windows down and on high volume. Recommended for any fan of rock!
Balls to the Wall Sep 26, 2006
If you're in the mood for some good rock 'n roll, the kind that gives you goosebumps and makes you want to speed as you turn up the volume in your car, then check out The Elms' The Chess Hotel. Compared with the previous albums of said band, The Elms certainly reveal a maturity to their style. The phrase, "balls to the wall," encapsulates the whole of the album perfectly. However, they still retain the distinct musical idiosyncrasies that made me love their previous albums. Catchy riffs, pop sensibility, and relevant lyrics come together and show the genuine attitude of the band. They really love what they do. The theme of The Chess Hotel attests to this fact, as The Elms expose the rigors of small-town living where following one's heart is not encouraged, much less done. Whereas The Elms seem to have no theme in their previous albums, The Chess Hotel explores a myriad of facets with its theme, adding something new and pleasant to the mix. The Elms complement the rough and tough side of small-town life with a raw, pure, and natural sound. You feel the emotion and the grit with the seemingly pretentious vocals that call forth your attention and guitars that bleed through your ears. The rhythm section of the band maintains the crucial heartbeat of the band, and at times makes you want to shake it.
Songs such as "Who Puts Rock'n Roll in Your Blood" and "The Chess Hotel" engage you in a sonorous experience. With a bluesy, catchy riff, the former presents The Elms as an answer to the title question while subtly offering the band's hard work as a motivator to those following their heart. The latter speaks of blue-collar burnout, revealing the reality of many a small-town folk. Owen Thomas, lead singer, truly shines vocally in this one. Not to mention, the song is catchy as hell.
The Elms draw from a multitude of 60's and 70's rock bands. One can hear characteristics of The Who, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Badfinger, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith, The Byrds, and Cream, just to name a few. While drawing influence from these bands, The Elms create a sound unique to them. This isn't an imitation band. They're the real deal. You won't regret buying this album, plus it's under $10, a great bargain.
They Keep Getting Better Aug 8, 2006
I Am the World Who Puts Rock & Roll In Your Blood? Nothin' To Do With Love Makes Good Sense I Left My Body And Never Came Back She's Cold The Chess Hotel Bring Me Your Tea The Way I Will The Downtown King Black Peach The Towers & The Trains I've Been Wrong
Wow...where do I begin? This is quite possibly the best album I've heard this year. The Elms continue to progress with each release but don't stray too terribly far from home. That home is rooted firmly in the late 60's and early 70's. The Elms have already proven that they have a knack for Beatles/Beach Boys harmonies and hooks. They have also demonstrated a fondness for Byrds/REM/Tom Petty jangling guitars. Their last album (Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll) saw the Indiana-based band channeling Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on several tracks as well as the previously mentioned artists.
The new album throws in more sweet harmonies along with blistering guitar riffs and solos. Vocalist Owen Thomas has found a new voice on several tracks and it sounds as if he found it on some old Aerosmith records. He manages a scream or two that would make Steven Tyler proud. He has come a long way from the baby-faced kid with the sweet voice on the self-titled EP from 2000. This is a not-so kinder and gentler band. The pop sensibility is still there but the guitars take center stage on nearly every song and you can't help but draw comparisons to Aerosmith, The Black Crowes, and (at times) Led Zeppelin.
Those looking for blatant evangelical lyrics will be disappointed but that doesn't mean there is a lack of faith here or that these guys don't have something important to say. Thomas has been quoted as saying "I go to the local hangs and play cards with guys who are 50 or 60 years old. What I hear most people say is that given the chance, they would have gotten out of this town. And I'm not pointing these things out to say that this is a horrible, deadbeat, mundane, burnout little place. What I'm trying to say is that there are millions of American people who, by and large, are victims of circumstance. Many in America are doing what they do because somebody told them that following their heart was not practical."
Christians would do well to listen to the stories that Thomas has to share on the album and figure out how we (as the body of Christ) can bring Him into those places. Getting our faces rocked off in the process is an added bonus.
Lee's Top Tracks (for the moment):
I Am The World Nothin' To Do With Love Bring Me Your Tea The Chess Hotel
CD good enough your friends will borrow and not return! May 16, 2006
Excellent sound from the Elms, by far the best CD to date from the guys. I like the variety in the songs especially some of the darker stuff in the longer songs. Everyone thats heard the CD at my place or driving in the car with me has loved it. I had to buy a second copy because one of my friend refused to give me my copy back. Thou shalt not covet thy friend's Elms CD, get your own and support the guys from Seymour, IN!