The albums we'd love to see be included
Gigwise
15:25 3rd September 2013

It's almost that time of year again - next Wednesday the shortlist for the coveted Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize will be unveiled. 

After that, the winner will be announced on Wednesday 30 October. But until then, may the wild speculation begin!

Previous winners include The xx, Elbow, Alt-J, Arctic Monkeys and PJ Harvey - all of whom have been heaped in critical praise and gone on to shift countless units as their brilliant records adorn coffee tables nationwise.

You can usually guess a fair few of the LPs who are LIKELY to appear on the list, but here is our pick of the artists that we WANT to see deservedly walk down the red carpet, kiss Lauren Laverne on the cheek and flirt with the chance of being named the best UK album of the last 12 months (or so). 

  • Biffy Clyro - Opposites: From the devious dynamics of 'Black Chandelier' and the typically awkward but anthemic 'Sounds Like Balloons' to the sky-reachingly tender 'Biblical' and the Mariachi math-rock joy of 'Spanish Radio', Opposites is the full scope of all that Biffy are capable of met with the sheer scale of their ambitions finally being realised. It reached No.1 and took the band to the almighty heights of headlining Reading & Leeds festival. Could the Mercury finally shake off their fear of hard rock and hand the Prize to The Biff? And more importantly, would they show up to the ceremony shirtless?

  • Ghostpoet - Some Say I So I Say Light: Ghostpoet's new album is heavy. It weaves every day stories with an intricate, anxious, electronically tinged beat and invites you to taste life different to your own. It's this unique style that got Ghostpoet recognised by the Mercury Prize back in 2011 and Some Say I So I Say Light is here to enforce that reputation.

  • Foals - Holy Fire: The Oxford four-piece's third album Holy Fire provides clarity and sharpness, contrasting to their deeply metaphoric, chaotic nature of their past. With hit 'My Number' the least self-conscious, the album overall expands over time blooming into an almighty perfect for deserving festival headline slots and maybe a little Mercury gold. But after a recent win from Alt-J, could the Mercury choose to turn away from mathy guitar rock?

  • Mount Kimbie - Cold Spring Fault Less Youth: Using the bare elements of blissed-out trip-hop, this London duo take minimalism and blow it apart with an epic and life-affirming sound that demands to be heard. Cold Spring Fault Less Youth is an artful and accomplished piece of work that's more than worthy of a little Mercury recognition, but may be wondering a little too close to the sonic territory of previous winners The xx to take home the prize.

  • Zoon Van Snook - The Bridge Between Life & Death: A concept album from a Bristol musician honouring the Icelandic music scene, The Bridge Between Life & Death is a desperately beautiful record, with chimes, choirs and orchestral sounds echoing the lush landscapes of Reykjavik and beyond. An obscure, but valid option for the Mercury Music Prize.

  • James Blake - Overgrown: A far more cohesive record than his debut, Blake fine-tuned his craft on Overgrown, asserting a distinctive and definitive sound all of his own. Without experimentation and cover versions, James Blake went from dubstep meddler to a serious contender on the UK music scene.

  • Bonobo - The North Borders: After the EDM explosion, dance music took a step towards more downtempo sounds in the past year, and Bonobo's fifth record boasted some of the finest sounds in its field. Live percussion never sounded sweeter.

  • Rudimental - Home: As much a debut album as a showcase for the best British urban talent, Home marked the arrival of a new UK production powerhouse. A commercial take on the sound of the UK's streets and a near endless source of hit singles.

  • Crystal Fighters - Cave Rave: The Mercury Music panel aren't known for going apeshit in Spanish caverns, so a nomination for Crystal Fighters is highly unlikely. Fact remains, that despite the fact that Cave Rave is a completely mental, it's one of the most uplifitng British-ish albums of the past 12 months. Cheer up chaps, slip this one a nod.

  • Disclosure - Settle: The most critically acclaimed UK dance album in years, if there's a place for club beats on this year's shortlist, then it will go to Disclosure. These terrifyingly talented brothers shook the mainstream with their retro sounds, and deserve some silverware to go with all the acclaim.

  • Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse: Typically Scottish and oh-so typically Frightened Rabbit, Pedestrian Verse uncompromisingly marries the sweet and poetic with the brash and unpleasant. Almost subversively sticking two fingers up to any notion of a 'mainstream breakthrough', it's an album that's as life-affirming in tone as it is ambitious in scale. After all of those toilet-venue tours, this is the sound of these Scots stepping onto the World's stage, and totally owning it. Good for them. Now, let's hope that 2013 truly becomes the year the Rabbit with a Mercury nod in the bag.

  • Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man: Just creeping into the eligible time frame is the wonderful Natasha Khan. On her third effort, Khan’s intent is quite literally laid bare on the album artwork alone. While she may be in the buff, the pose is not overly-sexualised – it’s just pure, raw and direct, and the music follows suit. It’s a bewitching balance of pop, pleasure and pain. She's been nominated twice before but always gone home empty-handed. Third time lucky, eh?

  • David Bowie - The Next Day: He'll probably be in there anyway, because he's David bloody Bowie, but regardless of hype, The Next Day is a brilliantly strange journey of wonderfully imaginative and excellently crafted songs from a rare talent. The rarest in fact. The playful defaced Heroes album cover says it all: the record is loaded with the sense of an artist looking back at a colourful life behind him, and instead of being weighed down or having to compete with his own legacy, carrying it with him to use all of his acquired artistry and experience to say something in a language that only Bowie can.

  • Savages - Silence Yourself: One of the year's key rock releases, Savages are one of the darkest and most compelling bands of 2013. Finding themselves embraced by the mainstream and applauded at every turn, Silence Yourself is a refreshingly unconventional, imaginative and gloom-laden album - perfect for the Mercury shortlist perhaps?


Photo: WENN