The Chess Hotel

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Chess Hotel is an album of many firsts for the Elms: it's their first record in four years, the long-awaited sequel to their second album, 2002's Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll; it's their first album for a major label; and it's their first album not to be targeted at a CCM audience. Prior to this record, the Elms were recording for the Christian label Sparrow, but based on the sound of The Chess Hotel, that's a little hard to believe, since it's a loose, rowdy, invigorating set of no-nonsense rock & roll. No other band from the alternative CCM market has ever been this much fun or so genuinely rock & roll. On this terrifically entertaining album, they...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The Chess Hotel is an album of many firsts for the Elms: it's their first record in four years, the long-awaited sequel to their second album, 2002's Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll; it's their first album for a major label; and it's their first album not to be targeted at a CCM audience. Prior to this record, the Elms were recording for the Christian label Sparrow, but based on the sound of The Chess Hotel, that's a little hard to believe, since it's a loose, rowdy, invigorating set of no-nonsense rock & roll. No other band from the alternative CCM market has ever been this much fun or so genuinely rock & roll. On this terrifically entertaining album, they come across as a blend of the Black Crowes and Oasis, with a little bit of the roots rock of fellow Seymour, IN, native John Mellencamp thrown in for good measure. They love loud guitars, including greasy slide guitars, ragged rhythms, and big, big hooks that are hard to forget, and since it draws clearly and unashamedly on classic rock traditions, whether it's from the U.S. or the U.K., it might seem like it'd be easy to peg the Elms as retro-rock, but they're hardly throwbacks. They might be working within the confines of classic rock, but there's an unstudied nature to their writing and a commitment in their performance that makes The Chess Hotel seem fresh, particularly since there are virtually no straight-ahead, unapologetic rock & roll bands like this in 2006. And that's why The Chess Hotel is one of the best surprises of the year -- not only does nobody else sound like this right now, the Elms have the skills as songwriters and musicians to sound exciting. Fans of their first two albums have known this about the band, but those who are reluctant to try the Elms based on their past history should get past their doubts, because this album proves that this quartet is a good rock & roll band by any standard.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/2/2006
  • Label: Universal South
  • UPC: 602498859438
  • Catalog Number: 000549802
  • Sales rank: 250,110

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Elms Primary Artist
Chris Thomas Drums
Christopher Thomas Percussion, Drums, Vocals, Group Member
Tommy "D" Daugherty Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Owen Thomas Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Group Member
Nathan W. Bennett Bass Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Nathan Bennett Bass Guitar
Owen Thomas Vocals
Thomas Daugherty Guitar
Technical Credits
William Saroyan Author
David Bianco Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Eddy Schreyer Mastering
Karen Cronin Art Direction
Owen Thomas Composer, Concept
The Elms Audio Production
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    If you escape alive, you're doin' well....

    It's quite difficult to review an album with so much passion and energy squeezed into all of 2,400 seconds. Each song on The Chess Hotel possesses such a unique voice, and beautifully written/performed compositions, that there are hardly highlights on this album. It's entirely first-class. Despite my bias in favor of The Elms’ sound, I am uttering what I believe to be truth. The Chess Hotel is played hard and heavy – while at the same time, resting beautifully, gracefully. The sounds are raw. Nothing you hear is purely a tone of a voice or instrument, it all lies within the nuances of the performance. Screams and thunderous drums rub calluses in your ears in tracks like “I Am The World”, “The Chess Hotel”, and “She’s Cold”. The energy from these darker feeling songs will make your heart pound like no other. The quietude of the gentler songs will then steady your heart far beyond your expectations.….and then, suddenly, a faster paced syncopated drum in tracks like “The Way I Will” will give you the impulse to dance around the room. The performances by the four boys are played as though the world is ending soon, and there are only forty minutes left to save rock & roll. There is a highlight, I would vie - “The Towers and the Trains”. It is the epic concurrence that links the splendor of perfection and the dirtiness of grief. As long as you are patient and listen attentively, you will not be disappointed by the song. Even from a lyrical standpoint, The Chess Hotel is incredibly diverse, discussing: Changing the world, warning the world, helping the girl, falling for the girl, fixing lost love. Defiantly demanding appreciation from those who know how to rock and roll. Giving credit to those who sacrifice by working wholeheartedly. Reflecting on the lost lives of beings of those who truly have lost purpose in their existence. And humbly admitting that taking wealth for granted is sinful. No recordings have ever had such powerful melodies recorded in such a gloriously bare and sparse light. I have never heard an LP that rocked harder, or raised the bar higher, than The Chess Hotel. The sounds derive from the 60's and 70's, but The Elms are definitely not a classic rock impersonators. Trust me, it will brilliantly put rock and roll in your blood. I recommend buying this album as soon as possible. Oh, and turn up your stereo. Note: (I received The Chess Hotel's prerelease on January 20th, but you can buy it May 2, 2006)

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