Friday, April 25, 2014

Scottish Albums of the Year

Scottish Album of the Year Award

The longlist for this year's SAY (Scottish Album of the Year) award was released yesterday You can see the full list here; I've only heard 3 of the 20 albums nominated, but since that's better than I managed for the Welsh Music Prize, I'm going to blog the hell out of it anyway.

I'll start with my thoughts on the three nominees I know, and then I'll talk about a few other albums that should perhaps have made the list.

Kid Canaveral
Now That You Are a Dancer by Kid Canaveral
I saw these guys in Cardiff last year, and their songs were so catchy and their playing so tight that I went straight to the merch desk and bought the album. Now That You Are a Dancer is my pick of the longlist; Kid C's songs are somehow evocative of wearing a coat that's way too big for you on your way home from school on a wet afternoon.

Standout tracks: My favourites are Low Winter Sun - a life-affirming indictment of the Scottish climate - and Without a Backing Track (above), which shows that growing up isn't all bad.

Camera Obscura
Desire Lines by Camera Obscura
Bizarrely enough, I found this one in a charity shop mere weeks after its release. Somebody obviously wasn't that keen on it, but I like it a lot; Break It to You Gently in particular was stuck in my head for ages.

Standout tracks: Aside from ...Gently, I'm a big fan of the swaying and decidedly downbeat I Missed Your Party. Those two tracks are next to each other on the tracklist, and it's a great little combo.

Edwyn Collins
Understated by Edwyn Collins
RW/FF named this one their album of the year, if memory serves. I'm not entirely sold on it - I personally preferred Losing Sleep, mostly for In Your Eyes - but the dramatic sound of songs like Down the Line and In the Now is very enjoyable indeed.

Standout tracks: The two songs mentioned above, along with 31 Years (live version above), which finds Edwyn looking back on his musical career before shrugging and turning back towards the present day ("what the heck, I'm living now).

And now, three albums that ought to be on that longlist (but aren't):

Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action by Franz Ferdinand
I realise that Franz aren't the all-conquering force that they were in the mid-noughties, but I still think of them as one of Scotland's bigger names, and so I was kind of surprised to see that Right Thoughts hadn't even made the longlist. It' a real good'un, too, an album that trades their angular funk for a baws-to-the-wall krautrock feel.

Standout tracks: I think Treason! Animals. is a particular highlight (listen above), and the single Evil Eye is extremely enjoyable too.

End Game by Woodenbox
A far smaller name than Franz Ferdinand, but still one to investigate. Woodenbox, as I've mentioned before, were recommended to me by the guy who runs Love Music in Glasgow, and so they're kind of 'people's choice' band to my mind. This album is more epic-sounding than its predecessor, but the catchy trumpet lines are still present and correct on songs like Beautiful Terrible.

Standout tracks: Beautiful Terrible is probably the best song on End Game, but I'm also pretty fond of Race to the Flood, a frantic bag of 5/8 fun.

Secret Soundz, Vol. 2 by The Pictish Trail
The Pictish Trail toured with Kid Canaveral - I saw them both at that one gig - and so, as far as I'm concerned, the two acts kind of come as a pair. Hopefully, Johnny Lynch's absence from the SAY longlist won't mark him out as the Brian Jonestown Massacre to Kid C's Dandy Warhols, but even if he is doomed to languish in obscurity forever, he can take solace in the fact that a) The Pictish Trail are damn good live, and b) Secret Soundz, Vol. 2 - which I purchased from the merch desk in Undertone, along with Now You Are a Dancer - is a damn good listen. It's perfect napping music, in the best possible way.

Standout tracks: I love Wait Until (above) - it's built upon a patient, insistent synth line that just keeps going and going and mmm...very nice. Of Course You Exist is good too.

Have you heard more than three of the longlisted albums? Have I missed out on something awesome? Are there any other great Scottish albums that were undeservedly left out? That's what the comments are for, bro. Have a nice weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment