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Track Review: The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir ‘Stop!’

A stunningly cathartic experience.

I hope that you catch syphilis and die alone” cries frontman Elia Einhorn, while the rest of The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir provide somber, country-tinged accompaniment on this wonderfully scathing track from the Chicago band’s 2009 release “…and the Horse You Rode In On.”

It is clear from these opening lyrics that this is a bitter song, but that doesn’t make it a standard heartbroken country tune. The guitars are not overtly twangy but the waltzy feel and the violin point to country as a clear influence.

The distorted guitars and Einhorn’s on-the-verge-of-tears delivery (somewhat reminiscent of David Bowie’s upper register) tell a different story, like an alternative rock band at heart with a southern twist.

The lyrics are consistently tortured and find power in bluntness. The lines “thoughts of him on top, then you on top refuse to stop and I’m losing my mind” are especially potent and only make this narrative’s despair more palpable. 

More emotional weight is piled on with the mention of throwing the unnamed individual in front of a runaway train and not wanting to live anymore.  This morbidity makes the song continually gripping and forces imagery that is nearly impossible to block out.

Even without a chorus, the track does not feel directionless and the distortion-fueled climax helps to contribute a sense of finality to the tragedy in a way that feels like a scaled down post-rock piece. 

Though the music is quality, ultimately, it is Einhorn’s vocal performance and lyricism that take this track over the top and make it such a stunningly cathartic experience.

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