Having already enjoyed a successful transition from Britpop with Blur to the high-concept beats of Gorillaz, Damon Albarn looks set to turn his attentions to the one award that has so far eluded him: the Mercury Music Prize.
Q and NME gongs are ten-a-penny while the less said about Brit Award wins the better, but when it comes to the Mercury few are more coveted.
And Albarn has endured his fair share of brushes with the big prize, having twice been nominated for the award as part of Blur , while Gorillaz were also shortlisted only for the 46-year-old to request it be withdrawn from the running.
But while the London-born singer/songwriter cited concerns about the win being “like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity” amid worries that it would damage the progression of the ambitious project at the time, there are no such qualms this time round.
And though there are still some five months to go until the winner is announced, Ladbrokes already has Albarn leading the Mercury Music Prize betting at 6/1 for his new album “Everyday Robots”.
Already a firm favourite with the critics, the album has a solid score of 76 out of 100 on Metacritic – based on 36 collated reviews.
It fared well upon release in the Official UK Albums Chart, with Paolo Nutini’s “Caustic Love” the only thing keeping him from the top.
Oddly enough the Scot is a distant 25/1 shot to win the Mercury Music Prize, but after two years in which relative unknowns Alt-J and James Blake have triumphed, organisers may be tempted to plump for a more established artist.
In 2011 PJ Harvey picked up her second Mercury gong and after missing out with ‘Parklife’ in 1994 and ’13’ in 1999, as M People and Talvin Singh claimed shock wins respectively, 2014 is shaping up to be Albarn’s year.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.