Review by David Bowling
Del Lord (1894-1970) was a director of over 200 films—features and shorts. His lasting claim to fame was as the director of over three dozen Three Stooges’ shorts, 1935-48. He could not have imagined that his name would be appropriated by one of the more promising American rock bands of the 1980s.
The Del-Lords released four albums between 1984 and 1990 of creative, energetic rock and roll. They received more critical acclaim than they did commercial success and, by the early ’90s, the band members had gone their separate ways.
The lights went back on for The Del-Lords during 2010 when they reunited to play a series of selected dates. Recently, original members Scott Kempner (lead vocals and guitar), Eric Ambel (lead guitar and vocals), Frank Funaro (drums and harmony vocals), have been joined by new addition Michael DuClos (bass and harmony vocals) to create their first studio album in over 20 years. Elvis Club was released earlier this year.
Kempner has always been an accomplished and adventurous songwriter. Here he has written eight of the tracks and assisted on two more. The only cover song on the album is a rocking version of Neil Young’s “Southern Pacific.”
For the most part songs such as “When the Drugs Kick In,” “All of My Life,” “Chicks Man,” and “Letter (Unmailed)” are instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with the band. They are a fusion of a gritty garage band sound and British rock of the ’60s and ’70s. The new music has a more definitive guitar sound and it rocks a little harder, but all in all it remains similar to their distinctive style and sound of the ’80s. This is especially true when the harmonies kick in.
Elvis Club finds a band that is older, wiser, and seems a lot more relaxed. They have matured as musicians and have picked up quickly from where they left off, but without repeating themselves. Hopefully The Del-Lords will continue to fine-tune their sound and produce more original and imaginative rock and roll.