Gary Flockhart: Monkeys a shoo-in? Don’t bet on it

Laura Marling. Pic: Comp.

Laura Marling. Pic: Comp.

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AS I was saying in last week’s column, Arctic Monkeys’ status as icons of modern music deepens with every new album they release.

Then, as if by magic, the Sheffield lads were named among the 12 nominees for this year’s Mercury Prize the very same day.

Given that a week ago I was saying that the band’s latest offering, AM, is 2013’s album of the year thus far, you’d think I’d have them down as shoo-ins for the prestigious prize.

Not so fast. You see, the Mercury is rarely predictable and its judging panel just loves to throw a curve ball, which is why I’m convinced the Monkeys won’t win for a second time, despite theirs being (in my opinion) the strongest album on the shortlist.

Another big-name nominee is David Bowie. The Next Day, his first collection of songs in a decade, is undeniably ace but the Thin White Duke hardly needs the £20,000 winner’s cheque.

Plenty of punters are having a bang on Foals and Jake Bugg to win, but I don’t see either as a worthy winner.

Jon Hopkins, James Blake – especially James Blake – and Savages are deserving for genuinely challenging their genres, but again, I don’t see any of those winning.

If it was up to me, they could hand out the prize now. Nominated for a third time, Laura Marling always seems to be the bridesmaid when the Mercury is dished out, and it’s about time the elfin folk songstress won the darn thing.

Her latest album, Once I Was An Eagle, also happens to be her best.

If Marling doesn’t win, they should give the prize to another Laura (Mvula), for her excellent debut album Sing To The Moon.

The Birmingham singer-songwriter is a prodigious talent on the cusp of greatness – thus making her the perfect choice to win this year’s Mercury Prize.

Not convinced? Go catch her headline show at the Queen’s Hall on September 30 and prepare to be blown away.