As the nominees have been announced for this year’s Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize, Manchester, the beating heart of British music, has been represented twice over.
Although not necessarily a guarantee of subsequent record sales, the prize is still revered as a critical seal of approval, serving in the past as a spring board to the mainstream for new artists, or an appreciation of continued effort and innovation for more established acts.
Bury-based Elbow, who won the prize in 2008 for their album The Seldom Seen Kid, are in contention again for their latest release Build A Rocket Boys!
Here at MM we’d love to see Elbow pull off a second win, although the widely-acknowledged mercurial (forgive the pun) and occasionally downright contrary nature of the Mercury judges essentially precludes this possibility.
Build A Rocket Boys! has built on the mainstream success and acceptance the formerly cult band had won following their first victory. An album that manages to combine grand orchestration and Craig Potter’s mature and detailed production, with the bands reliable warmth of tone and Guy Garvey’s good-naturedly wistful Alan Bennett-esque lyrics.
Although its members hail from all four corners of the UK, Everything Everything, the closest thing to an indie band on this year’s list, met, formed and reside in Manchester. Their debut, Man Alive, was released less than a year ago, but the band have already received two Ivor Novello award nominations for their track MY KZ, UR BF.
Since the inaugural prize-giving in 1992, Manchester, and more generally the North-West has been represented by nominee’s each year.
M People, who are from Manchester, so we’re pleased about that, somehow astonishingly beat Blur’s album Parklife and Pulp’s album His ‘n Hers in 1993. Bolton-raised Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, won with his album The Hour of Bewilderbeest,in 2000, beating Manchester’s Doves and Wigan’s finest, Richard Ashcroft.
PJ Harvey’s comeback album Let England Shake, full of folk and fury, is currently the bookies favourite to take home the trophy and £20,000 cheque this year, with bookmaker William Hill offering odds of 2/1, with Adele and her album 21, coming a close second at 6/1.
According to an office survey, we’ve decided to go and stick a tenner on Tinie Tempah this year. Just a hunch…
The nominations in full:
- Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
- Everything Everything – Man Alive
- Adele – 21
- Katy B – On a Mission
- James Blake – James Blake
- Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
- King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
- Ghost Poet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
- PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
- Metronomy – The English Riviera
- Gwilym Simcock – Good Days at Schloss Elmau
- Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy