Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2010. Least Official, Alternative Odds Out.

Another year of eclectic, occasionally execrable British music has this morning been condensed down into a shortlist of 12 of 2010's highly debatable Albums Of The Year. From Manchester melancholy to tripped out Oxxxford reinvention, there's a distinct lack of innovation amidst this year's rundown. Which is a shame, particularly in light of the omitting of Albarn's Plastic Beach and These New Puritans' murky brainwasher Hidden. Once regarded as the "kiss of death" (see Talvin Singh, last year's ashamed triumph Speech Debelle and M People...) recent years have seen the likes of household indie titans Klaxons, Elbow and Franz Ferdinand scoop the gong and despite varied levels of derisive success, the aforementioned three truck on. Were the Prize to have reverted to its old cursed ways following last year's shock result, fingers are excruciatingly tightly crossed for a Mumford & Sons victory... Obviously Dots & Dashes lacks gambling licenses etc. and has next to no money behind it but were we offering odds on this year's nominees, evidently judged entirely subjectively on musical cohesion and lack of repulse, our fractions and ratios would be thus:

The xx, xx.
If not entirely innovative, ultimately endearing late night/early morning downtrodden euphoria bursting from South London into global infatuation.


Villagers, Becoming A Jackal.
Insatiable, wispy acoustica from the Irish Patrick Watson. An outside bet, but a bloody safe one at that...


I Am Kloot, Sky At Night.

Irrevocably beautiful minor key constructions courtesy of John Bramwell's I Am Kloot. A little along the lines of a Mancunian take on Richard Hawley, Sky At Night twinkled with a gorgeousness the trio have threatened for years.


Foals, Total Life Forever.
Yannis' Foals hibernated amongst the Swedish fjords, before returning with the beguiling guitar contortions of Total Life Forever. A bold move, and one that saw the Oxford treble fanatics garner their inaugural Mercury nomination.


Biffy Clyro, Only Revolutions.
Fifth LP proper from Ayrshire trio Biffy Clyro burst the banks of the mainstream with gargantuan choruses enough to dislodge the Hollywood sign and send it tumbling perilously into the Hollywood Bowl below.


Laura Marling, I Speak Because I Can.
Far and away Laura Marling's most accomplished work to date, I Speak Because I Can showcased a gutsy fire and thud in her repertoire few expected to experience from the now-youthfully exuberant troubadour.


Dizzee Racal, Tongue N'Cheek.
From hooded Bow boy to hooking, lining and practically sinking Ibiza, Tongue N'Cheek sent the western world Bonkers for the 'Rascal. With an exponentially increased budget, could Dizzee sneak off with his second Mercury Music Prize?


Paul Weller, Wake Up The Nation.
The Modfather returned to vaguely appreciative acclaim with Wake Up The Nation, although there seems little benefit to many were he to grab this year's gong...


Corinne Bailey Rae, The Sea.

From inducing snoozing at Glastonbury to decelerating off the drivetime playlist, out of rear-mirror view surely Corinne Bailey Rae's about as probable to depart Covent Garden triumphant on the 7th September as Jools Holland is to eloquently, and soberly announce this year's winner...


Kit Downes Trio, Golden.

The now-token jazz entry that's got as much of a hope in hell as Pete Doherty applying for reduced premium car insurance. That said, Polar Bear's seminal Held On The Tips Of Fingers really ought to have clinched the Prize in 2005...


Wild Beasts, Two Dancers.
Quite unfathomably, there are those still not sick to the back teeth of this tropically tinged Hooting and Howling operatic twaddle.


Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More.
Whilst Marcus Mumford may have sweated his way through universally lauded show-stealers at almost every festival thus far this summer, from Glastonbury to Hop Farm in the same bloody waistcoat, the groans emanating across Britain anywhere outside of Barnes at a Mumford conquest ought to be as audible as those that greeted England's instantaneous World Cup expiry.


This year's Barclaycard Mercury Prize takes place on 7th September.