Arctic Monkeys’ sixth album, Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, has been named among the nominees for this year’s Mercury prize. The nod makes them the joint second most-nominated act in the prize’s history: the Sheffield band and PJ Harvey have both received four nominations since its inception in 1992, while Radiohead have five.
Filling the Mercury prize’s notorious jazz slot are London-based group Sons of Kemet for Your Queen is a Reptile, their first nomination. “It’s great to know that our music and our ideas will have the chance to resonate with as wide an audience as the Mercury nominations permits,” said Sons of Kemet leader Shabaka Hutchings. “Our aim is to merge the music and ways of perception associated with histories of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora to the developments happening within the London music scene and propel the results outwards to the world as a force for good.”
It is a good year for first-time nominees: King Krule’s experimental opus The Ooz, Nadine Shah’s political post-punk statement Holiday Destination and Lily Allen’s No Shame. “BOOM. So fucking happy!!!!!” Allen tweeted, while Shah said she was “still in shock” about the news. Two debuts made the list: grime act Novelist’s Novelist Guy, and R&B star Jorja Smith’s Lost and Found.
Noel Gallagher (and his High Flying Birds) receives his first solo nomination for Who Built the Moon?, but his history with the prize stretches back to the mid-1990s when Oasis were nominated for their debut album Definitely Maybe in 1995 and follow-up (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? in 1996.
XL Recordings boss Richard Russell’s all-star Everything Is Recorded album also marks his first nomination – however the album features Sampha, who won last year for his debut Process, and Damon Albarn, who has been nominated with Blur, Gorillaz (who rejected the nomination for their 2001 self-titled debut) and as a solo act.
Bookmaker William Hill has tipped Florence + the Machine, Noel Gallagher and Arctic Monkeys as potential winners with odds of 4/1.
There is little crossover between the shortlist and the artists tipped by the bookmakers prior to the nominees’ unveiling. Paddy Power, Coral and Ladbrokes had south London band Shame tipped at 3/1 as outright winners, followed by experimental teen duo Let’s Eat Grandma at 5/1. Arctic Monkeys had odds of 8/1, with alternative pop group Superorganism at 12/1 and producer Sophie at 16/1. Acclaimed albums by Leeds psychedelic band Hookworms, Welsh electronic artist Gwenno and pop iconoclast Charli XCXwere also notable by their omission.
The judges for the Mercury prize are editor Phil Alexander, BBC Radio 1’s Clara Amfo, broadcaster Danielle Perry, jazz musician Jamie Cullum, pop artist Ella Eyre, the Guardian Guide’s deputy editor Harriet Gibsone, musician Lianne La Havas, Times critic Will Hodgkinson, DJ MistaJam, Mumford and Sons’ Marcus Mumford, BBC 6Music’s head of music Jeff Smith, musician Jessie Ware and Radio X head of music Mike Walsh. The panel is chaired by Jeff Smith.
The winner of the 2018 Mercury prize will be announced in a ceremony at London’s Eventim Apollo on 20 September.
The full Mercury prize 2018 shortlist
- Lily Allen: No Shame
- Arctic Monkeys: Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
- Everything Everything: A Fever Dream
- Everything Is Recorded: Everything Is Recorded
- Florence + the Machine: High as Hope
- Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Who Built the Moon?
- King Krule: The Ooz
- Novelist: Novelist Guy
- Nadine Shah: Holiday Destination
- Jorja Smith: Lost and Found
- Sons of Kemet: Your Queen is a Reptile
- Wolf Alice: Visions of a Life