Mercury Music Prize: Could be third-time lucky for Laura Marling

It’s being dubbed as the year Mercury ‘went back to the mainstream’ after the most obscure shortlist in the competition’s history in 2012 produced victory for Alt-J’s breakthrough record, An Awesome Wave.

While the competition has always had a reputation for rewarding underground artists, the general feeling was that some of the shortlist for the 2012 edition had gone a little too far, by blatantly overlooking more popular artists such as Coldplay.

It’s somewhat of a welcome relief therefore to see the 2013, 12-album shortlist, featuring some of British music’s most stellar names, with David Bowie’s (The Next Day) at 4/1 the biggest of the lot.

The rock legend’s first studio album in a decade was perfectly timed with the launch of his sold-out retrospective exhibition of his life’s work at the V & A Museum, which has helped create something of ‘Bowie mania’ in 2013.

And after widespread receiving critical acclaim for his latest work, it’s one that keeps cropping up in the music press.

Meanwhile, Deep House duo Disclosure have been installed as the 7/2 favourites thanks to their debut release ‘Settle’, which has breathed commercial life back into the genre and has toes tapping across the nation.

Among the other power players are 2006 winners Arctic Monkeys at 10/1, bidding to be the second performers ever to make it a double after their suave and hypnotic fifth album (AM) has got critics purring over the musical development of Sheffield’s finest.

Another 2013 festival circuit favourite are fellow rockers the Foals at 5/1, who, like the Arctics would represent somewhat of a ‘people’s choice’ for their hum-dinging third album Holy Fire, which has had wellied crowds hooked all summer.

However, a really fascinating pick is third-time nominee Laura Marling at 7/1. The London folkster and 2011 Brit Award winner for best female, has been charming the panel sufficiently to get shortlisted three times in five years, and there are those who feel she has now earned the right to be crowned the winner.

Her fourth album, Once I Was AN Eagle, may just be ready to soar.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.