St Andrew's Day - The best music from Scotland

St Andrew's Day - The best culture from Scotland

Cocteau Twins

Our music editor picks Scottish music highlights for a St Andrews Day soundtrack

Treasure (1984, 4AD) by the Cocteau Twins. Because when 'Lorelei' or 'Ivo' are playing, it’s hard not to feel a surge of hairs-on-arm-raising national pride about the Grangemouth origins of such a beautiful, essential dream-pop album. Forget listening to a lone piper deep in the heather, or ballads with thick Scottish accents. Forget Dougie Maclean pining for his ‘Caledonia’ (not that that’s not a masterpiece). Forget Runrig rousing ex-pats around the world when they blast out their ‘Going Home’, or the Proclaimers proclaiming things in the strained Leith vowels that have brought them international fame. Hearing those simple machine beats from the Cocteau Twins, and Elizabeth Fraser’s nonsense, gauzy and otherworldly vocals – it’s basically ‘proto-chillwave’ – Scots (and fans of Scotland) will often feel an urge to sing along, despite it being so obviously impossible.

Speaking of chillwave, Boards of Canada’s era-defining Warp release, Music Has the Right to Children (1998) should supply a good dose of woozy, ambient sounds. Mogwai’s Young Team (1997, Chemikal Underground) contains some enjoyable squally, post-rock outbursts from Glasgow and showcases Scotland expertly doing the loud, quiet, loud thing, (eg ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’, ‘Like Herod’). To finish, things can go one of two ways. Either inwardly looking, and tending towards miserablism – in which case, have a cry into your whisky with Arab Strap’s The Week Never Starts Round Here (1996, Chemikal Underground). Or else, try an upper in the form of Errors’ still fresh, dance inducing EP How Clean is Your Acid House? (2006, Rock Action).

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