Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Mercury Prize

Well I'm never known for my timeliness am I? The Mercury Music Prize has a few interesting contenders this year, neither of which were the Kaiser Chiefs or Bloc Party. Maximo Park were more interesting that I had previously thought and the folk entry Seth Lakeman actually seemed to be more than a token offering. Similarly The Magic Numbers were actually okay which is better than most bands Noel Gallagher tip.

KT Tunstall gave a great live performance but after checking out her album on iTunes I can't decide whether she is better live or whether she just went with her strongest material. Either way the recorded album is disappointing.

Winner Antony and the Johnsons gave a fantastic performance and I ended up buying the CD. I had seen it recommended before but had no idea what was on it. The lead song is brilliant and the rest of the album is good but not in the same league. Interestingly it is a very dark album with the spectre of death hanging over each track.

The real revelation was The Go! Team who just exploded on the TV screen and were simply more fun and far more inventive than anyone else performing (MIA is excellent but she's not as brilliant as she thinks or wants the public to think). Bleep had the album not too long after the awards so it was duly downloaded. The album is definitely harder listening than the live performance (and a lot of the tracks seem destined for re-recording and re-mastering I believe). However that same energetic invention was all present and correct. The easy comparision is with The Avalanches but instead of just pure 70's and charity store sampling there is a lot more live playing in the mix. Playing a riff or re-recording a rap allows for a different feel to the track. It may be retro but it isn't boring.

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