Scottish Album of the Year Award shortlist revealed

Albums from Karine Polwart, Young Fathers, Kobi Onyame, Mogwai, Golden Teacher, BABE and Siobhan Wilson are among those in the running for this year’s SAY Award

Article by Jamie Dunn | 23 Aug 2018

And the award goes to... an album from this newly announced SAY Award shortlist. Tonight the SAY judges have narrowed their longlist of albums competing for the Scottish Album of the Year down to an eclectic list of ten contenders.

Among those in the running are previous SAY Award recipients Young Fathers for their extraordinary third album Cocoa Sugar. In our review we called it the Edinburgh trio’s best work yet, saying it “slaps sugary boy band choruses against tongue-twister rap via surreal imagery borrowed from the Bible and a sprinkling of the kind of idioms your nan might use. It’s a potent mix.”

Another past SAY Award-winner is in the mix in the form of Kathryn Joseph, who’s nominated for her project Out Lines, a collaboration with Marcus Mackay and The Twilight Sad's James Graham. We said of their album, Conflats, that it “proves to be a powerful testament to the strength and beauty of the human spirit, even in the darkest of times.”

They’re joined on this shortlist with other stalwarts of the Scottish music scene like Mogwai (nominated for Every Country's Sun) and Golden Teacher (for No Luscious Life), but there are some emerging artists on there too. Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, gets the nod for her self-titled second album, and Glasgow four-piece BABE find themselves on the shortlist for their sophomore long play too: Kiss & Tell.

Elgin-born singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson is another of the shortlist nominees. We called her new album There Are No Saints “a sparse, tender record tying English indie-folk with European classical music to spellbinding effect.” Glasgow artist Kobi Onyame is also nominated for fourth album GOLD, which fuses rap, grime, R'n'B and the sounds of his Ghanaian homeland. We reckon it’s a record that sees Onyame “really come into his own and produce a body of work that is as current as it is nostalgic.”

Karine Polwart’s fifth album Traces was nominated for the SAY Award in 2013, and she gets another nod for A Pocket of Wind Resistance, her record made with sound designer Pippa Murphy that riffs on her 2016 Fringe show Wind Resistance.

Rounding out the list are Franz Ferdinand, whose Always Ascending makes it on to the shortlist as the choice of the voting public. Following a change of personnel (Julian Corrie aka Miaoux Miaoux and Dino Bardot joined the band last year), Alex Kapranos described the Glasgow band's fifth album as them carrying on as before but also sounding quite novel when we spoke to him back in February: "The reaction I'm getting from most folk is that it sounds like a Franz Ferdinand album but that it also sounds very different, which is exactly what I wanted to do."

The SAY Award ceremony takes place on 6 Sep at Paisley Town Hall. The full shorlist is below. For more information, head to

The SAY Award 2018 shortlist is as follows (in alphabetical order):

BABE – Kiss & Tell
Best Girl Athlete – Best Girl Athlete 
Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
Golden Teacher – No Luscious Life 
Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy – A Pocket of Wind Resistance
Kobi Onyame – GOLD 
Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun 
Out Lines – Conflats 
Siobhan Wilson – There Are No Saints 
Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar