The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

It’s hard to know what to expect when confronted by a Chicago band called the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir on Bloodshot Records. And even after listening to this, their second album, it isn’t entirely obvious what the band intended because of the record’s split personality. Dividing the vocal duties between bandleader Elia Einhorn and Ellen O’Hayer helps to break up any potential monotony but the two styles of songs are dramatically different. The majority of the tunes are upbeat chamber pop that at times, sound like the Hidden Cameras or even Belle and Sebastian. Yet when O’Hayer sings the songs are sparse and mournful, and the tone changes completely. That doesn’t mean that her haunting tracks are disappointing but they do feel out of place. The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is an enjoyable record that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. And recruiting members of the Mekons, Bright Eyes, Canasta and Rilo Kiley just adds to the confusion. Yet out of that disarray comes some deceptively dark pop songs that are well worth a listen. (Bloodshot)