The third installment of Scotland Yard Gospel Choir in long-play form finds the band adding production, lessening the electric punk sounds, but maintaining much of those sensibilities. It’s pop, and it’s orchestrated, and it’s absolutely indie, but even when the punk-style guitars are absent, punk is nevertheless present.
“Stop” truly opens the album with an ode to the cliché break-up song; what a way to begin an album, using lyrics like I hope you catch Syphilis and die alone / No don’t call me because I won’t answer! “One Night Stand” finds Elia dropping his voice for a selectively Leonard Cohen-esque appeal before jumping back into the throaty renditions common throughout …And The Horse You Rode In On. “Hope Is Still On Your Side” and “Praying Is A Heartache” are both filled with emotive beauty, yet are drastically different in make-up.
This is an album that’s appealing in all its honesty, yet packs a fair share of good ol’ punchy rock ‘n roll. These are songs you could live by, fall in love to, and play while drinking yourself into a stupor. Where their early stuff was reminiscent of, say, Belle & Sebastian, the new songs find Scotland Yard Gospel Choir coming into their own. Their original influences remain, but their sound has progressed beyond personalized mimicry.
There was greatness early on that drew many in — myself included. Their debut in I Bet You Say That To All The Boys was a genius release in its own right, and the self-titled sophomore release was an obvious stepping stone along the way, but …And The Horse is the true coming-of-age for the group. They have shed whatever insecurities they may have had and gained the confidence to truly create something both brutal and brilliant.
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir: Stop [mp3]
[audio:090915-sygc-stop.mp3|titles=Stop|artists=Scotland Yard Gospel Choir]
Bloodshot Records [CD, 2009]
1. You Go Together
3. One Night Stand
4. Something’s Happening
5. I Pretend She’s You
6. Hope Is Still On Your Side
7. Libertyville Or Somewhere
8. Sixteen Is Too Young
9. Praying Is A Heartache
10. Save Your Breath
11. Castles Of Wales
12. Ogilvie Station
13. …And The Horse You Rode In On
14. Tear Down The Opera House
15. Well I Wouldn’t