Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize (part 2)

So, back with Part 2 of my review of the contenders.

Villagers:   PS album rating 7;   Betfair odds (approx) 13-1 ;    PS odds   50-1

This is the year of 'Folk' with three sort of folky albums, 2 more than they usually have on the shortlist.  This is quite strange actually, feels like it needs a few more listens.  Not conventional folk, more singer songwriter but with an edge....quite left field in places but with some good tunes.  Will listen to it further but can't see it as a winner over Marling.

Kit Downes Trio: PS album rating Jazz; Betfair odds(approx)36-1; PS odds Jazz - 1

Sorry, just don't get jazz.  Ironically, the highest standard musical activity I was ever involved with was jazz; my school had an excellent Swing Band and I played Baritone sax fairly badly (but we had 5 guys in the band who went on to become professional musicians).  So great to play, rubbish to listen to.  I can't judge this.  Actually find it quite painful. Sorry Kit.

Foals:   PS album rating 8.5;    Betfair odds (approx) 20;   PS odds 30-1

Reviewed recently here, a very strong album but slightly overshadowed by the standout track, Spanish Sahara.  Appealing to indie-kids and dance freaks, but wouldn't frighten the parents too much...will be much used for TV backgrounds.  BUT, trumped by Wild Beasts (the Biffy factor) which is in a similar genre and just that bit more interesting.  Hence the odds....

Laura Marling:   PS album rating 9.5;   Betfair odds (approx) 5-1;    PS odds 3-1

She's 20.  Since my rave review here I have listed to this regularly and if anything it has gone up in my estimation.  Could be a 10/10 but then I'm shutting off the possibility of perfection....  I don't understand why we don't get more excited about her -  perhaps because her back story is middle class, home counties.  But she is probably the best British female singer songwriter ever.  And did I tell you she's 20?  Who knows what she might do in the next 40 years.  Should probably win but last year's winner was a female singer songwriter so I have my doubts...

Wild Beasts:  PS album rating  9.5;    Betfair odds (approx) 7-1;    PS odds 4-1

I was sure Marling would be nominated but I was jumping for joy with this one.  My album of 2009.  Just brilliant dance / indie with passion and energy and humour, and vocals that studiously avoid the tenor range (its falsetto or baritone for these boys).. I will celebrate if this wins, and it is not out of the question.

Mumford and Sons:  PS album rating 8.5;  Betfair odds (approx) 7-1; PS odds 20-1

I'm delighted this has done so well after somewhat sniffy album reviews. I saw them in one of their first gigs supporting Laura Marling at the Union Chapel, loved them, never thought for a moment they would sell trillions of albums!  Sometimes 'the public' get it right.  Nu-folk, tunes, fun, emotion.  But see the rule of Biffy - it cannot win as it is just not quite as good as Marling.

So..there you go.  I expect XX, Marling or the WIld Beasts to win, would not be totally shocked if Weller or Dizzie came through. I have placed small (£7-8) bets on three of those five....  Will be totally shocked if it is anyone else!

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