You’ve got to feel some sympathy towards the judges of this year’s Mercury Prize. Among the 12 artists up for nomination are some the most successful and respected representatives from a vast cross section of contemporary music.
The timeless and iconic David Bowie manages to find his 24th album ‘The Next Day’ among a list usually saved for younger talents, while the all-female noir-punk group Savages find their stripped down debut ‘Silence Yourself’ fighting for the prize. It’s good to see some genuinely forward thinking electronic music make the cut and contend with chart toppers like Rudimental and Disclosure, Jon Hopkins broke down the walls of what techno could bring to the table with his opus ‘Immunity’, with its nine minute long tracks and rusty percussion. James Blake, with his album ‘Overgrown’, is bound to be the odds on favourite. His album covers melodic pop charm and haunting electronic whirls, it’s a balance of romantic and abandon, and even though it’s not the best album on the list, it’s the most intriguing and satisfyingly complete in its range of emotions and styles.