Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mercury shortlist: Effort undermined by presence of Kasabian

No, seriously: what's the point of a shortlist for an award for the best album which features Kasabian at all? Sure, there's lots of names on the list which stand up to critical consideration: The lovely Lisa Hannigan album; La Roux's debut; Friendly Fires of course. You can see The Horrors have earned a place there - even if the early claims that they'd totally reinvented themselves were a little overstating the case, there's enough evidence of a band thinking things through to make them worth considering.

But Kasabian?

Their response to being shortlisted says, pretty much, where the band are creatively:

Kasabian's Tom Meighan said: "I like making music but it's really nice to get the recognition. I think it's deserved, why not, eh?"

It's like someone reading an abandoned Noel Gallagher thought of the back of a napkin, isn't it?

The BBC insist that La Roux are leading the nominations, although bookies seem to think that Kasabian and Florence and The Machine are.

Here's the shortlist in full, with - excitingly - latest betting odds:

Florence and the Machine, “Lungs.” 5/1
Kasabian, “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.” 5/1
Bat for Lashes, “Two Suns.” 6/1
La Roux, “La Roux.” 6/1
Glasvegas, “Glasvegas.” 6/1
Speech Debelle, “Speech Therapy.” 8/1
Friendly Fires, “Friendly Fires.” 8/11
The Horrors, “Primary Colours.” 8/1
Lisa Hannigan, “Sea Sew.” 8/1
The Invisible, “The Invisible.” 10/1
Led Bib, “Sensible Shoes.” 10/1
Sweet Billy Pilgrim, “Twice Born Men.” 10/1

More interesting than the shortlist is the change in sponsor - following on from the now-defunct Mercury, Technics and the Nationwide Building Society is Barclaycard. A credit card company? Sponsoring a music prize? (Like, erm, Mastercard's support for the Brits?) So out goes the prudent, cash-careful Building Society in favour of a debt-driving credit concern. Interesting choice.

[Related: The Lisa Hannigan weekend]


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