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Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

Who? Chicago string and heart-on-sleeve collective with a revolving cast of over 50 musicians. No one is Scottish, nor do they preach any gospel, though chief songwriter and frontman Elia Einhorn (guitar/vocals) does throw in a Bible reference or two on their forthcoming self-titled album, out Oct. 23 via Chicago’s Bloodshot label. Playing CMJ at the Cake Shop on Friday (Oct. 19) at 9 P.M., and at Brooklyn’s Union Pool on Saturday (Oct. 20) at 4:05 P.M.

What’s the Deal? Einhorn got his start playing hours upon hours of acoustic Belle & Sebastian covers just to get mic time at local coffee shops. And one can’t deny the same breathy-warm guitars and soul-hug vocals Einhorn and other core member, Ellen O’Hayer (cello/vocals), weave on Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. The band’s other 50 or so musicians/vocalists are cut down to about seven on the touring circuit, appearing alongside a horn and string section comprised of the best of Chicago’s indie scene (Mucca Pazza, Head of Femur). When the ensemble’s tight, Einhorn’s commandeering style soars with wails of heartache while the strings keep it aloft (“The World Has No Place For Me”). And when they’re loose, it’s scrappy indie-pop bent on jangly guitars and sunshine vocals (“Pins and Needles”), O’Hayer chiming in with her fair share of honey-smooth leads. The few Bible nods and many other literati refs — “I’ve been hiding out at home, Whiting out the Bible” — are mostly a coming of terms for Einhorn and his troubled past as a drug dealer and addict. Otherwise there are no values being bestowed besides genuine, Windy City pop rock tales.

Fun Fact? Einhorn has been sober and drug-free for ten years, celebrating the triumph with candy and flower tosses at shows.

Now Hear This:Scotland Yard Gospel Choir – “I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way For a Boy” DOWNLOAD MP3

On the Web:Scotland Yard Gospel Choir at MySpacesygc.com

Talk: Is this ‘Choir’ fit for the masses?

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