In­die eg­gheads could show some Un­thanks for Mer­cury

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

WE’RE UP and run­ning al­ready for this year’s Mer­cury Mu­sic Prize. De­spite the fact that the 12-strong short­list for the best Bri­tish/Ir­ish al­bum of the year award isn’t an­nounced un­til July 19th (with the win­ner not known un­til Septem­ber), al­ready there is brisk busi­ness be­ing done at the book­mak­ers with favourites com­ing and go­ing as events (and their chin-stroking sig­nif­i­cance) are mulled over in terms of odds length­en­ing or odds short­en­ing.

Just af­ter the Brit awards back in Fe­bru­ary, Tinie Tem­pah was the out­right favourite and he was at 2/1 for a good few weeks. But this week’s pe­rusal of the odds be­ing of­fered finds Mr Tem­pah way down at 14/1. The poor dear has just lost a bit of mo­men­tum.

Ob­vi­ously the gar­gan­tuan fig­ure this year is Adele, whose 21 al­bum is break­ing all known sales fig­ures, but she’s a bit too “com­mon” in terms of main­stream ex­po­sure for the in­die eg­gheads who seem to make up the judg­ing panel each year. She’s 6/1 at the mo­ment – but you’d be wast­ing your money as she hasn’t got the “ob­scu­rity” thing go­ing on.

All the smart money is now be­ing split be­tween James Blake and PJ Harvey. The for­mer is at­trac­tive be­cause he rep­re­sents “post-dub­step” (no, se­ri­ously) and the Mer­cury do like to keep it “street”. But Blake was hyped an aw­ful lot dur­ing the an­nual, and in­creas­ingly hys­ter­i­cal, “best new acts” round of awards back in Jan­uary so he may seem a bit “passé” at this stage.

PJ Harvey is prob­lem­atic in that she is a Mer­cury judg­ing panel’s wet dream, but she did win the award once be­fore – in 2001 for Sto­ries From The City, Sto­ries Of The Sea. So a vote for her would mean the Mer­cury would have their first ever dou­ble win­ner – which sort of negates their “cut­ting edge” mes­sage. Which also ex­plains why Arc­tic Mon­keys can cur­rently be got for 50/1 with a very strong al­bum – they too are pre­vi­ous win­ners.

For Ir­ish acts, it’s look­ing a bit bleak, al­though Two Door Cin­ema Club have been men­tioned and re­ally do de­serve a nod – even if it is in the “to­ken Paddy” cat­e­gory. James Vin­cent McMor­row can safely be ruled out – but only be­cause his al­bum was re­leased out­side the June to June time frame nec­es­sary for en­try.

You can safely ex­pect to see Anna Calvi and Chase and Sta­tus on the nom­i­na­tion list in July – and the lat­ter look a bit tasty at 16/1, par­tic­u­larly as they’ve yet to truly break out of the un­der­ground.

Wild Beasts will also be there or there­abouts (they make Mer­cury Prize mu­sic – let’s face it) but I’m cur­rently not talk­ing to them af­ter los­ing my shirt on them last year.

The Vac­cines should safely slot into the to­ken white in­die cat­e­gory but ap­par­ently one of their par­ents owns half of Glouces­ter­shire or some­thing, whereas the Mer­cury peo­ple only seem to get the horn for south Lon­don coun­cil es­tate types.

For the an­nual un­known jazz act, you can put your house on Por­tico Quar­tet this year and there re­ally doesn’t seem to be any stop­ping Noah and the Whale mak­ing it on to the list.

The two big out­side names that will be at­tract­ing my coins this year are The Un­thanks, who are way out at 40/1. They’d make great win­ners as they have that sort of ur­ban din­ner party Por­tishead ef­fect go­ing on and while they’re folk, they’re not waist­coat and pub­lic school folk.

The other out­sider is Frank Turner (in short: the new Billy Bragg) but he’s just re­leased his Eng­land Keep My Bones al­bum so there’s a dan­ger not enough peo­ple will have heard it. You can’t even get odds for him right now. So here’s to The Un­thanks – don’t let me down, gals.

Yes, please: Mer­cury out­siders The Un­thanks

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.