Sunday, October 25, 2015
Mercury Prize 2015 Soapbox
The big hitters:
Every year a few of the biggest acts our country has produced get nominated. This year Florence Welch became a true icon. Touring all over the world and headlining Glastonbury for the first time. It's just as well that her album is brilliant. Her foghorn vocals have been toned down but this is a bit of a hollow victory. The twee harps of the earlier records have been replaced with brass horns. 'How big...' is a truly massive album. Good enough to win, but maybe not edgy enough to truly deserve the prize. The other obvious entry is Syro By Aphex Twin. Not being a fan of him before hearing this has biased me a bit. The few dissenting voices claiming that the album is in some way dull or short of his standards, seem as bewildering to me as the album itself. It deserves a Mercury, but anyone who has his own WW2 tank probably doesn't need one.
This year Eska, C Duncan and Benjamin Clementine are the Who? nominees. The best part of the mercury's for me is discovering new artists that I would not otherwise would have heard of. There is no token jazz entries this year. I've not heard of any of these artists. I hadn't heard of Jon Hopkins before he was nominated for 'Immunity'. While I was happy that James Blake won that year. Immunity is on a totally different level. I believe it's one of the best electronic albums of all time. I hope I grow to love the artists I've not heard of on this years list.
Public Service Broadcasting are the big WTF? exclusion. The Race For Space is a near perfect album. Poignant, funny, and moving. It's got great tunes and is a fantastic example of how music has progressed in this decade. Sleaford Mods obviously never paid the £170. Everything Everything's exclusion seems a bit strange. But I never heard that LP so I can't say much. Swim Deep's new record is a fantastic musical trip, which sadly came out too late to be in with a shot. Django Django also deserved a second nomination for their fantastic Sophomore LP.
It's not the best list the Mercury's have come up with, but there's still plenty of great records on there.