It seems to have been a long road from the Big Surprise days for The Elms. They always had something that other 'Christian' bands didn't - originality, for one - but over the last few releases, they've matured their sound by a wide margin.
The Elms now make a sound that hasn't been heard in a while. Rootsy, driving rock that doesn't drive down the same self-obsessed road that makes Jet hard to tolerate; music that would sound great in a smoky bar, and equally good pouring out of the radio speakers. The Great American Midrange looks to take the progression that made The Chess Hotel such an out of nowhere pleasure to the next logical step. The melodies that I've heard are more hook filled, the choruses jangle; things have been simultaneously slimmed down and toughened.
The Great American Midrange doesn't have a release date yet (hopefully in 2008, though that's not a certainty yet), but they've been releasing some of their stuff through last.fm. Everything seems ready for The Elms to make a breakthrough; I just hope I have enough quarters for the stupidly expensive jukebox.