September 12 saw the announcement of this year’s Mercury Prize nominees revealed.
The shortlist – comprised of 12 of this year’s best British albums – was determined by a panel of independent judges (including music journalists and industry heavyweights).
The winner will be revealed on November 1 in a London-based awards ceremony. Previous winners include PJ Harvey, Arctic Monkeys, as well as The xx (whose sophomore album is reviewed in this issue).
Competing for a cash prize of £20,000 is a somewhat diverse, if rather predictable collection of albums. There is a noticeable emphasis on mainstream pop and soul, including records from Ben Howard, Michael Kiwanuka and Plan B.
Certainly lacking are contributions from electronica and dance, however Field Music’s Plumb is deserving of its left-field nomination.
2012 is definitely the year of the debuts – particularly Django Django’s self-titled debut and Alt-J’s breakout An Awesome Wave, the latter of which is a firm favourite to win with bookmakers.
Already well into their careers, it’s also encouraging to see work from Richard Hawley and The Maccabees finally receiving such recognition.
There are undoubtedly some clear omissions: either Rustie’s Glass Swords or Actress’ RIP would have been a fine representative for the UK’s flourishing underground dance music. Despite being inconsistent in parts, it’s also surprising to see Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials absent from the list.
Venue’s prediction to win would be split between Jessie Ware’s stellar debut record Devotion and Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave, but at least half of these nominees stand a chance of picking up the prize in a brilliant year for British music.
Breezeblocks – Alt J
Devotion (album teaser) – Jessie Ware
Default – Django Django