Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - ...and the horse you rode in on

'I hope that you catch syphilis and die alone...' - Stop!

Stop me, stop me, stop me, if you think you've heard this one before indeed could well be the main course here on first perusal, but how about that for an opening album, or any, line, eh, Moz? That this Chicago based bunch are close to a rampant pastiche of cringing indie hand-wringing but far surpass it is to channel it back across the ocean to, thematically at least, be reminiscent of Violent Femmes monstrous first stumble, is just testament to their intelligence and bitter brio of their black humour. With massive debts to The Smiths and especially Pulp, though it may be little surprise that leader Elia is Welsh-reared as they pull off with such dour and overwrought humour it could really be written in a bleak, broken down barn overlooking the Yorkshire Dales, or just Bradford. I Pretend She's You could pass for one of Jarvis's Babies surely, at least cause him to whistle harkingly while looking aghast over the top of his horn-rims across the restaurant even perhaps causing him to brazenly put down the menu he'd been nonchalantly blithering behind and bound over bambily and shower beard-crumbs their way. Mind you, they may just then sniff his armpit hair and offer their own deoderants. One Night Stand is a spliced coupling of Common People and Year 2000 but there's such lovely self-scouring scabrously scalding lyrics of squalid love, break-ups and downs and dour self-deprecating admissions of depression ('Oh Lee, maybe I'm going crazy / but I think I could love you forever...God I sound like such a sad bastard') and missives to pathetic lachrymosity ('Now me, I'm tearingup at 40s love songs / At Spector I lose it completely') mixed with athletic lyrical observational wit absolutely splattered with panache and plenty of side dishes - petri and other pathological platitudes - some beautiful female vocals (assumedly courtesy of Mary Ralph) recalling Max Edie on Nikki Sudden's Chelsea Embankment and that Whole Of The Moon song and splashes of violin adding deliciously wistful strains of a young Van Morrison trashing Wedding Presents that evenS the slight, last-ditch detour to some bar where Kaiser Chiefs rule the jukebox (Tear Down The Opera House) can't stop this being a wondrously bathetic whirl through someone else's misery guts.

'Think I'll bring down the government
But I'd rather go home and get back into bed' - Tear Down The Opera House
Stu Gibson

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