Last night, Young Fathers won the Scottish Album of the Year Award 2018 (held in Paisley Town Hall) for their celebrated fifth album, Cocoa Sugar, scooping the £20,000 first prize. Their sound at once lush, sparse, ‘jaggy’, deep and soulful is totally unique and utterly arresting. Tracks range from the quasi-religious lyrics and soaring choir on ‘Lord’ to the dark and quite frankly difficult to listen to ‘Wow’ with its droning, scratchy intro followed by the darkly ironic lyrics, “Wow. What a time to be alive. I’m gonna put myself first.”

Band member, Alloysious Massaquoi was ecstatic, saying “We want to thank everyone who voted, it’s fantastic for Scotland and diversity in music. This is a total surprise and an honour for us to win it twice and make history. We are obviously a multi-racial group who stand for openness, kindness, and love.”

Formed in Edinburgh in 2008 by Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham ‘G’ Hastings in 2012, they released their introductory mixtapes, ‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two’. The trio then signed to Big Dada and released debut album, ‘Dead’, in 2014, which won the prestigious Mercury Music Awards. Following an extensive world tour the band begin work on their sophomore album, ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’, which was released in 2015. Their album, ‘Tape Two’ won the Scottish Album of The Year in 2014 and four years later the band now add their third studio album, ‘Cocoa Sugar’, to their repertoire.

The band once described as a “Liberian/Nigerian/Scottish psychedelic hip-hop electro boy band” saw off competition from Mogwai’s ‘Every Country’s Sun, Siobhan Wilson’s ‘There Are No Saints’, Best Girl Athlete’s album of the same name and Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Always Ascending’ which won the public vote and is indeed pretty fantastic. Excluding the winners, nine bands made up the shortlist. They were:

BABE – ‘Kiss & Tell’
Best Girl Athlete – ‘Best Girl Athlete’
Franz Ferdinand – ‘Always Ascending’ (Public vote winner)
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’

It’s worth checking out the longlist too on the SAY Awards 2018 website. Favourites here at INSIGHT HQ are Adam Holms and the Embers – ‘Midnight Milk’ and Catholic Action’s ‘In Memory Of’. We also greatly enjoyed Megan Airlie, a singer songwriter from East Kilbride. With echoes of Florence + The Machine, her timeless, bluesy sound was captivating. She’s our hot tip for next year.  Watch this space! All in all a great night for the Scottish music scene.

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