The band’s fourth album made the shortlist for this year’s prize alongside the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Jorja Smith, Lily Allen, Wolf Alice, Novelist and more. Speaking to NME on the red carpet of the shortlist ceremony, the band spoke out about how they felt it captured the zeitgeist.
“It’s very much an album for the times we’re living in,”Jonathan Higgs told NME. “It’s about division and extremism, and a sense of trying to work together even though there are big problems with doing that. The title ‘A Fever Dream’ is about how everything feels very strange and you can’t tell what’s about to happen. When you read the news, you can’t really believe what you’re seeing these days.”
He continued: “There’s probably a desire for escapism more than ever in my life right now. I certainly feel it, because it can get you down after a bit. It’s inspiring that artists like to write about big stuff.”
The band also added that they would have liked to have seen recent albums by Let’s Eat Grandma, Gaz Coombes, Jon Hopkins and Shame make the shortlist.
“[The Shame album] is youthful and fiery and things that people like. It’s popular!,” said Higgs.
Drummer Michael Spearman added: “I feel like it’s the record that Jeremy Corbyn listens to. I’m actually not that familiar with it. When people come along and they capture people’s imagination and spirit at that time, regardless of whether it’s the best music, it’s important to capture that. I think that’s why a lot of people are surprised that it’s not on [the shortlist].”
The 2018 Mercury Music Prize ceremony will take place on Thursday 20 September at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.