Personnel: Scott Kempner (vocals, guitar); Eric Ambel (guitar); Frank Funaro (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixers: Tim Hatfield; Mario Viele.
Recording information: Cowboy Technical Services, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Though the Del-Lords officially re-formed in 2009, Elvis Club marks their first recording in 23 years. Chief songwriter/guitarist Scott Kempner has released a trio of solo albums and performed with Dion DiMucci and a slew of other artists, while lead guitarist Eric Roscoe Ambel has established himself as a formidable producer, engineer, and session player. This iteration of the band features these two and original drummer Frank Funaro, along with new bassist Mike DuClos. Kempner sings lead on most of these cuts, wrote nine of them, and co-wrote "Every Day" with Dion and "Make a Mistake" with Ambel, who produced the set. The sound here picks up right where the band left off. This is late-'80s, early-'90s New York roots rock -- all the sessions were cut at one of two studios in Brooklyn. It's all guitars, popping snares, 2/4 or 4/4 time, basic basslines, and a stray piano or organ thrown in for good measure. While none of these tunes are particularly "serious," some of them are cleverly absurd, such as opener "When the Drugs Kick In," which has a tasty, ringing, twin guitar riff, and the dreadfully titled, skittering boogie of "Chicks, Man!" The version of "Every Day" here rocks harder than DiMucci's (from 2000's Deja Nu), but isn't as convincing as a love song. "Silverlake" is a true bright spot. Kempner's vocal is emotionally invested and jangly Rickenbacker guitars play the hell out of a timeless hook. Neil Young's "Southern Pacific," the lone cover, closes the record. The guitars and drums charge out of the gate and Ambel's vocal is a dead ringer for songwriter's. Ultimately, Elvis Club was recorded for the faithful, who will likely find great comfort here. ~ Thom Jurek