California Chronicle Mercury Prize Article

The California Chronicle takes a wild stab at predicting the Mercury Music prize winner:

Mercury Win Will Fuel ‘Kingdom’ Sales If and When Doves Fly

Goodness, the bookies are already offering odds on who will be on this year’s Mercury Music Prize shortlist for the best British and Irish albums of the last 12 months. The list of the 12 nominated acts isn’t released until next Tuesday, but it’s safe to assume that this will be the year of the solo female artist. Expect Little Boots, La Roux, Bat for Lashes, Florence and The Machine and even Lily Allen to be there or thereabouts next week.

It seems odd to be predicting a winner even before the nominations have been announced, but I’m going for Doves and their Kingdom of Rust album. The Manchester band began as a dance act (Sub Sub), but when their studio burnt down they mutated into indie-prog under their current name.

Like Elbow, Doves are an unremarkably blokeish-looking band who don’t really chase media exposure. Both acts have been allowed to develop over a series of albums unburdened by a huge “hit” or label expectations. And both have that sort of wind- and rain-swept melancholia at their musical core.

What perhaps has held Doves back is their guilt-by-association with prog rock. Expect all that to change come Tuesday, when the music media (always easily led) will begin a sudden love affair with indie prog.

In Doves’ favour, Kingdom of Rustis, despite being a quality work from the first note to last, largely unheralded. It is still there to be “discovered” by music buyers, just like The Seldom Seen Kidlast year.

Like almost everything in the music industry, it’s all about perception. And the perception of Doves at the moment is of a band on the sidelines waiting for their “come on down” call into the spotlight.

Doves will begin their slow march next week. And if you haven’t already got Kingdom of Rust, best go out and get it this weekend before the bandwagon takes off at speed.

Only time will tell. I seem to remember doves all but had the award in the bag back in 2002 for the Last Broadcast. Of course it never quite turned out that way, with Miss Dynamite taking the award. We shall see, The prize this year is awarded September 8th.

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