- Host: Kevin Cole
- Engineer: Julian Martlew
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir performs in KEXP's studio.
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir performs in KEXP's studio. Mike Blankenhorn
I was already familiar with The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's debut, which came out a few years ago, but when I heard the band's new self-titled album, I was instantly impressed. It's one of those records that gives you more the more you listen to it: You spend a few weeks fixated on one track, and then you discover a new one. While certain moments are instantly lovable, like "I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way for a Boy," other incredible songs tend to reveal themselves over time. Booking them for an in-studio performance, then, was a given.
During the performance, bandleader Elia Einhorn seemed to have this wonderful sense about him. His physical stature was a bit gruff, but he had an open spirit and a reassuring warmth to him, and that was apparent in the camaraderie among his bandmates. You could tell that being out on the road and touring in cities that they'd never seen before really meant something to them — that they were on more of a mission than some bands. Performing and creating music that was really meaningful to them seemed a real joy, and you could hear it, see it, and feel it. It made you like them more than if you just liked the music.
At the end, I felt compelled to ask Einhorn if it was hard to sing and write about painful topics, as he doesn't seem afraid to really put himself out there with personal details. I wasn't sure if the lyrics were in the third person or real to his own life, and I've never really asked that question before, but I was thinking about it in part because he was wearing a Morrissey shirt. I often find that some of the music that makes you feel the best is, lyrically at least, some of the most depressing.
A band like The Smiths can make you feel good even while they're dealing with dark emotions. You can relate to them, take comfort in them, and recognize in them a cathartic experience — they can even make you laugh. Seeing as how Einhorn openly acknowledged Morrissey's influence, I had to ask if, from an artist's perspective, tapping into that deeply emotional well might bring up any pain or be hard to pull off, night after night. His response: "No, not at all... That's the only way I know how to write songs." Just what I would have expected from Morrissey himself.