Mercury Music Prize 2012: The nominations and odds

Richard Hawley and Plan B are the favourites to bag the music prize

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The Independent Culture


Richard Hawley: 'Standing At The Sky's Edge' – 4/1

2006 nominee swops twang-tastic crooning for full-on, guitar-distorted psychedelic epics, reflecting upon his late father and beloved Sheffield. Further out than he’s ever gone, the album was instantly hailed by critics.

Plan B: ‘Ill Manors’ – 4/1

East Londoner Ben Drew topped the charts with his brave, brutal expose of post-riots life in the shadow of the Olympic Park. The uncompromising Ill Manors stands apart in a depoliticised pop world.

Alt-J (∆): 'An Awesome Wave' – Odds 5/1

Precison-tooled to appeal to Mercury judges, the debut album from Leeds quartet combines indie, folk, dance textures, pop sensibility and winsome lyrics to create a perfectly-realised, intelligent alt-pop package.

Django Django: 'Django Django' – 5/1

Edinburgh art-school group mine Krautrock, techno and African influences for colourful psychedelic pop debut which defies genres. A festivals favourite but may be too close to Alt-J in the left-field indie stakes.

The Maccabees: 'Given To The Wild' – 7/1

Midtable Brighton-based indie-pop quintet make a push for Europa League places with third album adding a widescreen sheen to wispy, melodic approach. Anthemic songs wildly received by expanding fan base.

Jessie Ware: 'Devotion' – 7/1

Panorama presenter’s daughter hailed as the “new Sade” with electro-tinged collection of late-night soul, topped by a warm, smoky vocal belying her origins as a dubstep diva for hire. More personality than Emile Sandé who she edged out.

Ben Howard – ‘Every Kingdom’ 8/1

Contemporary update of folk style from Devon 25 year-old, compared to Nick Drake and John Martyn. Poetic lyrics and Howard’s passionate vocals play out over his spartan guitar backdrop.

Michael Kiwanuka: 'Home Again' – 8/1

No dinner party is complete without the Muswell Hill singer’s accomplished folk-soul debut. Kiwanuka’s warm vocals elevated a superbly-arranged set of songs which demonstrate that real emotion needn’t mean over-singing. 

Lianne La Havas – ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’ – 8/1

Competing with Kiwanuka and Ware in the “hushed soul” category, south Londoner singer strums and purrs over collection of jazz-inflected tunes which reek of expensive production. A Sound of 2012 tip yet to truly break through.

Field Music: ‘Plum’ – 10/1

None-more quirky Sunderland band wedge time signature-shifting prog rock ambition inside playful two minute songs packed with harmonies and hooks. Fourth studio album for indie band offers a fresh take on guitar-rock

Roller Trio – ‘Roller Trio’ – 10/1

This year’s jazz contenders met at Leeds College of Music and won acclaim for the raucous funk-infused sounds of their self-released debut. Roller Trio are James Mainwaring (tenor sax and electronics), Luke Wynter (guitar) and Luke Reddin-Williams (drums).

Sam Lee – ‘Ground Of Its Own’ – 10/1

English folk singer applies adventurous instrumentation to traditional narrative tales sourced from Gypsy and traveller communities.  The grisly album’s themes include infanticide but Lee is himself a worldly Chelsea College of Art graduate.

Odds: William Hill