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The Elms
Artist: The Elms
Label: Sparrow Records
Length: Five tracks at 21:21 minutes

Short and sweet, this five song EP successfully gives the buyer a sampling of Sparrow’s new band, The Elms. Brothers Owen and Chris Thomas with guitarist James Thompson and a bass player yet to be named plan to release a full length CD in the summer that will probably include these five songs that for now, will have to satisfy the band’s fans.

The entire record has a slight Steve Taylor tinge, mixed with Jars of Clay, and maybe some Newsboys’ bounciness. The beginning cut is called “Goodnight, Rosa.” In the ballad, a guy seems to be dropping off a girl, Rosa, after witnessing to her. Is this a blind date gone evangelistic? I don’t know, but over the jangling guitars and strong beat, the guy prays for Rosa not to have a good night’s sleep until she makes a decision to, “feel OK…La da da de da,” a tad silly, but certainly the intentions are good. The EP continues with “Lifeboat.” The title brings to mind the Steve Taylor classic and the song sounds like a Chagall Guevara tune but it’s a worship song, one whose lyrics have a playful edginess that will give a congregation plenty to think about. “You’re Glowing,” cut three, has a touch of horns and a loop of backwards guitar work that keep the music interesting. The last two songs, “Real Men Cry” and “You Think You Know A Guy,” once more feature transparent lyrics with good melodies, and great musical effort. Meaty pop hooks and melodies drive these songs and make the CD very listenable. The lyrics are direct, unmistakably Christian, and thoughtfully put together.

The promo stuff I’ve read brings up Oasis, and Tom Petty in reference to the band’s sound. I’ll admit to a little of those noted bands in the overall personality of The Elms, with full guitar sounds and strong drumming. The Elms want to inspire youth with thoughtful lyrics and driving rock and roll songs. The thoughts are easily accessible for the kids, the vision is ministry, and the ambition is far reaching. If their full length CD continues along this path, it will deserve a good listen by critic and consumer alike.

Tony LaFianza 4/04/2000



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