How did Mercury winners fare after they bagged the top prize? And what did they do to follow it up?
Primal Scream, 1992: 'Screamadelica' rightly picked up the inaugural Mercury Prize, beating U2's 'Achtung Baby' amongst others. Its follow-up swapped drug-scrambled rave hysteria for sleazy blues and Sly and the Family Stone funk. Despite the success of single 'Rocks', it wasn't the smash 'Screamadelica' was, prompting a rethink of their sound on 1997's dub-inspired 'Vanishing Point'.
Suede, 1993: After romping to victory with their eponymous debut, the fastest-selling debut album in a decade, at the second Mercurys, Brett Anderson, Bernard Butler and co refused to rest on their laurels. Instead, they renegaded against the emerging Britpop sound they'd be tagged with, delivering in 'Dog Man Star' a masterpiece fraught with tragedy, romance and Bowie-ish eclecticisms.
M People, 1994: History's remembered Heather Small and co as makers of snoozy proto-John Lewis advert easy listening but, propelled by single 'How Can I Love You More?', their debut album 'Elegant Slumming' won the gong in '94. 'Bizarre Fruit' was its follow-up and sold 2.8m copies in the UK alone, but neglected to expand on the soft dance of its predecessor.
Portishead, 1995: In 1994, Britain was in the first flush of Britpop fever but Portishead’s debut, ‘Dummy’, told a quite different story. "Spooked, slow-motion hip-hop beamed in from some decaying ballroom," read our review of a 2008 reissue. That album's eponymous sequel was even more packed with gothy atmos and nightmarish sounds, mirrored by an eerie monochrome sleeve. A classic.
Pulp, 1996: If Pulp's Mercury-winning 'Different Class' was a sunny, champagne-popping party of a Britpop classic, 'This Is Hardcore' was that party's brutal morning-after: the hangover from hell, full of bleak existential crisis and a pounding sense of panic. Like Suede, they followed a defining Britpop Mercury winner with a record intent on tearing the term apart.
Roni Size / Reprazent, 1997: The Bristol drum and bass crew's follow-up to 1997 winner 'New Forms' packed an all-star cast, from Wu-Tang's Method Man to Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha. There were fewer jazz flourishes and more hard hip-hop influence on the fierce 'In The Mode' which was similarly critically lauded but failed to pick up a nomination at the 2000 Mercurys.
Gomez, 1998: Released a year after the Southport group's prize-scooping 'Bring It On', 'Liquid Skin' was more of the same, "only bigger, even more confident and with far better production" according to its NME review, which applauded the way "ramshackle blues seesaw seamlessly into bruising skate metal" on the record. 16 years later, it still sounds good to these ears.
Talvin Singh, 1999: Tabla player and producer Singh's debut album 'ok' was an electronic interpretation of Indian music, threaded with sitars and amen breaks. The novelty had worn thin by 2001's 'ha' though, which received mixed reviews. He hasn't released an album since, at least not under that name.
Badly Drawn Boy, 2000: 2000 acoustic charmer 'The Hour of Bewilderbeast' won Damon Gough not just the Mercury prize money but the attention of author Nick Hornby, who tapped up the troubadour to create the soundtrack to his 'About A Boy' adaptation. Specially commissioned OSTs don't have a habit of being great but this one was full of warm folksy splendour, and saw his popularity peak.
PJ Harvey, 2001: Where 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea' was slick and sublime, a natural Mercury winner, 'Uh Huh Her' had a punk-ugly cover that had fans bracing themselves for a brash, snarly revision of her sound. They were half-way right - though not out and out punk, the 2004 release was threaded with guitar nastiness, with Polly playing all the instruments on every song.
Ms Dynamite, 2002: The UK garage star donated her £20,000 prize money to the NSPCC after winning with debut album 'A Little Deeper' in 2002. Returning in late 2005, her next release 'Judgement Days' was let down by blunt politics (Tony Blair diss track 'Mr Prime Minister') and overshadowed by a brawl with a police officer that saw her sentenced to community service.
Dizzee Rascal, 2003: 'Boy In Da Corner' was not just an album, but a bona fide phenomenon on its 2003 release, roaring to victory in that year's Mercury Prize vote. 'Showtime' aimed for a broader audience, packed with more accessible beats, but sold only a fraction of 58,000 copies 'Boy In Da Corner' managed.
Franz Ferdinand, 2004: "There's more to life than disco-beat guitar music," said Franz member Bob Hardy as the Scots worked on their sequel to 2004 Mercury winner 'Franz Ferdinand'. Sure enough, 'You Could Have It So Much Better...' incorporated a bigger spread of sounds, adventuring into Berlin-era David Bowie space funk and strange druggy haze.
Antony and the Johnsons, 2005: After 'I Am A Bird Now' won the 2005 Mercury (not to mention the hearts of some 220,000 British record buyers), Antony added orchestral grandeur (courtesy of Nico Muhly) to the mix on 2009's exploration of queer culture identity politics, 'The Crying Light'. A swoonsome, heartbreaking indie-pop statement.
Arctic Monkeys, 2006: AM blew a giant crater in modern indie with Mercury winning debut 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' in 2006. How do you possibly follow that? Alex Turner and company's answer was to crank the tension and speed simmering beneath that debut up a couple of notches, creating the thunderous 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'.
Klaxons, 2007: 'Myths Of The Near Future' was a Ballardian essay on modern life, cased in neon nu-rave colours and giddy washes of dance mayhem. After a well-deserved Mercury win, Klaxons' next release was initially rejected by Polydor for being "too experimental for release". When it did eventually drop, it was a button-pushing odyssey well worth the wait.
Elbow, 2008: Guy Garvey and co's 'The Seldom Seen Kid' was the product of a tumultuous two years that saw the band marooned without a record contract and dealing with the death of their friend Bryan Glancy, a local singer-songwriter. Crafting its follow-up was comparatively plain sailing for the Manc band, and it showed: 'Build A Rocket Boys' was a leisurely, more carefree charmer.
Speech Debelle, 2009: After the success of 'Speech Therapy', the London rapper set to work on 'Freedom of Speech' - a fiery, if less immediate listen hell-bent on social justice, with a memorable spot from Roots Manuva. It became a cult concern though, unlike the breakout triumph that was 'Speech Therapy'. Speech recently appeared on Celebrity Masterchef.
The xx, 2010: Monochrome moodiness, austere soundscapes, breathy vocals... yep, the xx honed rather than reinvented the formula that won their debut the 2010 Mercury on its follow-up, 'Coexist'. Another restraint-filled masterstroke.
PJ Harvey, 2011: We're still waiting on another effort from Polly after 'Let England Shake' saw her become the only artist to win the Mercury twice in 2011. It's not far away now though, with recording sessions having taken place in public at London's Somerset House earlier this year.
Alt-J, 2012: Just when you thought you had Alt-J pegged after their Mercury scooping debut came 2014's 'This Is All Yours'. A weird, wiry riposte to those who criticised them as purveyors of fey folktronica, it was full of baroque choirs, Miley Cyrus samples and gregorian chanting.
James Blake, 2013: 'Radio Silence' is said to be the name of the electronic maestro's third album, expected later this year. If it's anywhere near as affecting as the bruised, melancholic 'Overgrown', we're in for a treat...