The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, an indie pop ensemble hailing from Chicago, is perhaps the furthest thing away from an evangelistic singing group. Founded by college graduates with specialty degrees in music, the band took shape in summer 2001 when Ellen O'Hayer (cello/bass) and Welsh-born Elia Einhorn (organ/guitar) released the charming four-track record "Do You Still Stick Out in the Crowd." Percussionist Sam Koentopp and Boston native Matthew Kerstein (guitar/vocals) joined the two in time for the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's proper debut single. "Jennie That Cries" was released in early 2002, and WXRT's Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot were among the band's early fans. Local shows in the Windy City gave the four friends some well-needed concert experience, and dates with the likes of the Fiery Furnaces, the Children's Hour, Sea Ray, Of Montreal, and Jay Bennett soon followed.
Their second single, "I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way for a Boy," was recorded in support of the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's debut album. I Bet You Say That to All the Boys, which appeared in fall 2003, was a bona fide pop album with its glossy guitar hooks, O'Hayer's honeyed vocals, and the band's overall sweet performance. After the departure of Kerstein(who left to start his own group, Brighton MA), the band signed with Bloodshot Records in 2007 and released its self-titled label debut in October of the same year. After a couple years spent touring the world, the band returned with a new album, ...And the Horse You Rode in On, as well as a new lineup of Chicago-based musicians. Released during the early autumn of 2009, the album further refined the band's chamber pop sound and featured appearances by Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers) and Martin Atkins (PiL, Killing Joke).~ MacKenzie Wilson