…and the horse you rode in on
Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. Crushing breakup inevitably ensues. Boy drops out of life, retreats to family’s farmhouse in Northern Wales. Boy – along with rest of band - makes great record, triumphs over adversity.
Rock’s bread and butter is romantic tragedy. The latest record from Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, …and the horse you rode in on, takes all that, crushes it up, and emerges with something new, crisp, compelling and incredibly intelligent. Sure, they rock, but they also read.
The whole record echoes Britain's foremost purveyors of pity and poetry. Hints of Morrissey's literate lamentations, Jarvis Cocker's over-sexed swagger, and Orange Juice’s broken-hearted exuberance rise and fall over the fourteen songs. From the record’s opening line, “I hope that you catch syphilis and die,” there’s a portent of the heartbroken bitterness to come.
That opening track, “Stop,” features a massive double string quartet led and arranged by violinist Ethan Adelsman and provides moving counterpoint to the band's most rocking songs yet. The rhythm section of Jay Santana and bassist/producer/engineer Mark Yoshizumi propel “One Night Stand,” which rocks and reels like its subject matter, bringing some greatly missed sex back into American indie rock. Mary Ralph’s fragile vocals on “Sixteen Is Too Young” are a total heart-wrecker, while the raucous pub rocker “Tear Down the Opera House” calls to even the most sedentary geezer.
Paste Magazine hailed Elia’s “street corner stories… dolled up style and wise-guy sensibility,” saying he’s “a taleteller in the David Johansen mode.” Often storming the stage over a dozen deep, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir revels in brass and strings just as much as guitar and bass.
...and the horse you rode in on features cameos from Jon Langford (Mekons/Waco Brothers) and Martin Atkins (Public Image Ltd./Ministry/Killing Joke). Darlings of the literati, SYGC have performed with artists of every discipline, from the Arcade Fire and Spoon to Ira Glass and Dave Eggers.
Spin calls The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, “a hug for the downtrodden,” and it’s true – a rollicking, fucking, dance-your-ass-off, cry ‘til you can’t cry anymore hug. Breakups are tough, and life never gets any easier. SYGC knows that fully. Luckily, they couldn't care less.
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is:
Elia - vocals, guitar