CHVRCHES, Boards of Canada and Biffy Clyro longlisted for Scottish Album of the Year Award 2013
RM Hubbert, Camera Obscura, Frightened Rabbit, Mogwai, The Pastels and Edwyn Collins also recognised
This article is from 2014.
The longlist for The Scottish Album of the Year Award 2013 has been announced, with CHVRCHES, Boards of Canada and last year's winner RM Hubbert among the nominees. The prize, now in its third year, honours Scottish artists who produced albums between January and December 2013.
Each of the longlisted albums will be streamed on the SAY Award website between Mon 28 Apr and Mon 26 May (at which point, a public vote will decide which album will automatically go onto the ten-album shortlist; the remaining nine slots will be chosen by a panel of industry judges, including The List's music editor Claire Sawers and regular critics Nicola Meighan and Camilla Pia). The shortlist will be announced on Thu 29 May, with the winning announcement taking place on Thu 19 Jun.
We've collected together our reviews for each of the albums below; where an album slipped through The List's review net, we've had a look to see what else has been said online. Follow the publication links to lead through to the full reviews for each album.
Stream the longlist
For Spotify users, we've compiled this playlist:
The five albums not in the Spotify catalogue are streamable via the sources below, or from the SAY Award website.
Edwyn Collins - Understated
Kid Canaveral - Now That You Are A Dancer
Rick Redbeard - No Selfish Heart
Scottish Chamber Orchestra (R. Ticciati) - "Berlioz: Les Nuit D’été"
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra - "In The Spirit Of Duke"
Adam Holmes and the Embers – Heirs and Graces
'Adam Holmes writes lyrics that appeal and engage. His voice drifts from the speakers to fill a room with apparent ease, establishing an instant connection with his audience. In Heirs and Graces these considerable talents have been pooled along with those of his friends to produce an album who’s release starts 2014 on a very promising note for music lovers.' (Neil McFadyen, folkradio.co.uk)
Adam Stafford – Imaginary Walls Collapse
'It resumes where terrific 2011 predecessor, Build A Harbour Immediately, left off – all loop-building, axe-fuelled sonic (mis)shapes and vivid narratives – but Imaginary Walls Collapse is tooled up in all sorts of deviant ways: it’s less acoustic; more propelled by electronics and the sounds of human harmony and dissonance' (Nicola Meighan, The List)
Biffy Clyro – Opposites
'Pick any classic double album in history and you’ll find one excellent, seminal record padded out with just as much filler. Here, the Biffy have decided to go full 1970s and not allow for much editing of the creative process, and the result is good – sometimes very much so – but it’s hard not to view it as somewhat diluted.' (David Pollock, The List )
Boards of Canada – Tomorrow's Harvest
'Eight years on from The Campfire Headphase are we any closer to unravelling the mystery and fascination at the centre of Mike and Marcus Sandison’s sound? Happily no. It still remains as enigmatic and bewitching as ever, the brothers utilising their own personal radiophonic workshop to make analogue astral projections a sonic reality.' (Mark Keane, The List)
Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
'The temptation was strong to repeat the formula, but they resisted, instead forcing themselves to feel "vulnerable", by decamping to Portland, living in a spooky old house and working with an unfamiliar producer. The payoff is plain to hear in the pulse-quickeningly frisky "Do it Again", or "Break it to You Gently", suggestive of some lost early 80s Springsteen number.' (Malcolm Jack, The List)
CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe
'[The Bones Of What You Believe] blindsides with such hyper-melodic electro-verve it’s almost ludicrous. [It] is loaded with the rapturous vintage synth-anthems we’ve come to know and love from the band – "Lies", "Gun" and "Recover" among them (look at those titles!). But there is plenty else to uncover too – from future-hits like euphoric techno-aria "We Sink", gorgeous echo-pop ballad "Tether" and iridescent R&B groove "Lungs", to the album’s stunning penultimate track (oh, it is fierce to the bitter end), "By The Throat".' (Nicola Meighan, The List)
Dunedin Consort (Dir. John Butt) – J. S. Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos
'The Dunedin Consort is clearly a group without stars; even in the second, fourth and fifth concertos, with their more obvious solo roles, there's no sense of instruments being favoured like the soloists in a classical or romantic concerto... As an example of what modern baroque practice and top-class musicianship can bring to these hugely familiar works, this set is exceptional.' (Andrew Clements, The Guardian)
Edwyn Collins – Understated
'Here [Collins] marries his art-rock past to classic and country soul in elevating, jangle-heavy high definition. There’s nothing faithful about the Motown or Stax influences, either. He weaves them seamlessly into bristling art-pop for a sound that fits like a well-worn suit and dovetails perfectly with songs remembering his youth and coming to terms with his present.' (Chris Parkin, BBC Review)
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
'Long before they became an international major label concern... alt.rock five-piece Frightened Rabbit were a fraternal Selkirk duo. They were Scott (vocals/guitar) and Grant Hutchison (drums), and the brothers’ cardinal dynamic still fires up Frightened Rabbit’s beating heart. It rebounds across this terrific fourth album from a band who sound bigger, and heavier, than ever.' (Nicola Meighan, The List)
Hector Bizerk – Nobody Seen Nothing
'A forceful collection of astute street poetry and inventive party anthems that explores (and critiques) the ways in which we only see what we choose to see in the world around us.' (Nicola Meighan, The List)
Kid Canaveral – Now That You Are a Dancer
MacGregor is one of Scottish pop’s most distinct, and promising voices... Witness the swooning drive-rock of "The Wrench", the beatific lullaby of "Low Winter Sun", the electro-lament of Lazda’s "Skeletons" and the hyperactive power-pop of "Breaking Up Is the New Getting Married" – not to mention the shimmering indie doo-wop of "Who Would Want to Be Loved".' (Nicola Meighan, The List)
Mogwai – Les Revenants
'Eschewing much of the more punishing end of their sonic spectrum in favour of a haunting and beautifully fragile atmosphere, most of Mogwai’s 14 pieces are driven by soft, glacial keys/piano, and backed by strings, tempered electronic swells and a tasteful deployment of deep, pulsing fuzz. But although it’s considerably restrained, there are moments of familiar apocalyptic beauty to please fans of all levels.' (Ryan Drever, The List)
Rick Redbeard – No Selfish Heart
'Anthony’s peat-crackling baritone considers love, loss, nature, carnal obsession and the attempted retrieval thereof – most acutely on beatific country-dirge "Cold as Clay/The Grave" and yearning, bruised devotional "Any Way I Can", which rings out like a sublime, if painful, salvation.' (Nicola Meighan, The List)
RM Hubbert – Breaks & Bone
'Combining elements of flamenco and British folk with more adventurous avant and mathy touches, Hubby is a dazzlingly nimble and gifted guitarist – but his compositions are emotionally rooted rather than needlessly ostentatious. "Son of Princess, Brother of Rambo" is a great example, gloriously expressive but bold in its restraint, a collage of fluttering, optimistic flourishes, sudden exclamations and profound near-silence.' (Matt Evans, The List)
Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire – Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire
'Parts of this album were recorded in a Glasgow church, and "The Big Jump" certainly has that kind of sound about it. Piano-led, with soulful vocals and a hypnotic vibe, it's a real standout on an album packed with potential hits. "Bright Light Fever" shows Roddy Hart can pen stomping big indie tracks too, rattling along at a pace and featuring a clearly Glasgow-influenced lyric in "I'll get a kicking if I'm in the wrong part of town."' (Stef Lach, The Evening Times)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra (R Ticciati) – Berlioz: Les Nuit D’été
'Karen Cargill is the mezzo soloist, and her account of Les Nuits d'Été, wonderfully controlled and exquisitely shaded, seems to me one of the finest to appear on disc in recent years. Her performance of the Cleopatra cantata is equally subtle and meticulous, even when Berlioz's orchestral effects are at their most graphic.' (Andrew Clements, The Guardian)
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra – In The Spirit Of Duke
'Led by Tommy Smith, the SNJO’s arrangements are based on transcriptions of mid-period Ellington performances, but while In the Spirit of Duke slinks elegantly from the speakers, the question of whether such a classicist approach robs jazz of its spontaneity seems moot: this is undeniably great music, performed impeccably.' (Stewart Smith, The List)
Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time
'It’s an album of personal depth from Mason’s point of view, and real political breadth, later stand-outs including MC Mysto’s guest polemic rap on "More Money, More Fire" and the hard-nosed anti-authoritarianism of "Fight Them Back" ("you get up and fight them back / a fist, a boot, a baseball bat"). Commercial success may elude him, but Mason’s standing as an artist of insight and courage has never been higher.' (David Pollock, The List)
The Pastels – Slow Summits
'Like all Pastels albums, Slow Summits feels like the work of a tightly knit gang of outcasts. Together they roam familiar streets, checking out the public tennis courts and town center, armed with the knowledge that the deepest mysteries are the ones we barely notice and the greatest adventures are ones taken closest to home.' (Mike Powell, Pitchfork)
Young Fathers – Tape Two
'As if their breakthrough release of Tape One earlier this year on groundbreaking Los Angeles intelligent hip hop label Anticon wasn’t vindication enough of the promise that Edinburgh trio Young Fathers have been putting in the bank for some years now, this equally worthy follow-up less than six months later is a strong demonstration of their ability to turn out good tracks rapidly.' (David Pollock, The List)