, One Breath: Imperious south London singer, whose music walks a tightrope between Nick Cave and 1970s troubadours, such as Tim Buckley. Her full-fat playing draws on cinematic influences, such as Ennio Morricone. Calvi’s second LP doesn’t represent a huge creative leap forward — but is piled high with memorable riffs and choruses. Will She Win? Probably not.
, Everyday Robots: He lowers the tempo with a collection of phlegmatic ballads inspired by his childhood in suburban Colchester. He has an outside shot.
Tahlia Barnett’s debut album is haunting and splices r’n’ b, pop, krautrock, electronica and numerous other influences. Very possibly.
Still in their early 20s, the Londoners’ fourth LP is a satisfying blend of anthemic sentiments and sterling song-craft. Will They Win? Unlikely.
William Doyle has concocted a confessional dance album. Abstruse one moment, heartfelt the next, it’s like nothing you’ve heard before. It would be a surprise.
On its merits, their second LP is absolutely worthy of its place — incorporating electronic, classical and trip-hop elements, they bravely push a multitude of envelopes. But let’s be honest: they’re only here because they are a ‘jazz’ act. Nooooooo.....
The bookies have listed them fourth in the pecking order — but, for our money, this London duo are the dark horses. With a sublime r’n’b sound, esoteric but very, very more-ish, they represent the coming together of several edgy music trends. It is a distinct possibility.
Second favorite Tempest is a performance poet and rapper. However, it’s just five years since the judges went out on a limb and gave the prize to another rapper/poet type,
her LP went on to be one of the biggest flops in the history of the Mercury. The pundits think she may — we disagree.
Jazz-inflected singer-songwriter whose solo debut is agreeably understated. The problem is that ten minutes after you’ve listened you may struggle to recall a single note. Will who win?
Another jazz shortlisting, led by Seb Rochford. They’ve been here before and never had a whiff of victory. Same again.
Are you ready to rock? The bass-and-drum-only partnership — they rely on FX pedals and distortion to conjure their guitar-esque fugues — builds on the power-duo template of White Stripes, Black Keys, et al. Recently became the first rock band in a year to top the UK album charts — that their music is relatively avant-garde may advance their cause. It’s a distinct possibility.
The debut LP from this Scottish hip-hop trio is pleasingly abstruse, heaving with odd-ball samples and sinuous wordplay. You hope the exposure does them good. A Scottish hip-hop ensemble has never won the Mercury. No.
- The Mercury Prize is live on Channel 4 at 10pm this evening.