The Elms' first release was a five-song EP that generated considerable buzz among the Christian music community. On their first full-length offering, entitled Big Surprise, the band blooms into an alternative whirlwind. The disc's first cut is a cross between the Bay City Rollers and the Sweet. "Hey, Hey" is a pop-filled offering with handclaps and an appetizing horn section that feeds off a retro groove."The Buzzing Won't Stop" is all-out alternative bliss. The tune finds the Elms putting forth one of the best rock choruses in recent memory. Vocalist Owen Thomas does his best Liam Gallagher impersonation, as his falsetto creates an undeniably fresh impression. The title track, "Big Surprise," is a tune that evokes a mood of sadness with solid orchestration and a well-sung, solidly written vocal melody from Thomas. Perhaps one of the disc's most telling songs is the beautifully simplistic "Glowing." The tune features an intoxicating acoustic guitar with a shaker and tambourine used effectively in the mix. This cuts' lyrics are fundamental and compelling, indicating neediness for Christ: "If my hope is gone and I could die/I'll let you be strong and be a rainbow glowing in my sky." Other songs like "A Minute to Ourselves" and "Lifeboat" are alternative rock toe-tappers that portray the band in solid rock fashion. Cuts like this are plentiful on this disc, ones that make an everlasting impression on the memory banks. On Big Surprise, the Elms have managed to paint the perfect sonic picture, using a variety of alternative brush strokes that color the canvas like a Picasso.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Losey