Mercury Prize 2014: What NME Said About The Nominated Albums

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1Damon Albarn – ‘Everyday Robots’

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This year's Mercury prize nominations are in, but who are you backing? Here's a recap of NME's verdicts on the nominations to help you decide, starting with Damon Albarn – ‘Everyday Robots’
“The seductive music, with its colliery laments, gothic calypsos and full-on Magnetic Fields alt-showtunes invite intimacy and the slow picking away of its layers,” wrote Mark Beaumont. 8/10

2Royal Blood – ‘Royal Blood’

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Royal Blood – ‘Royal Blood’
The Brighton duo’s debut is an “absolute turbo-bastard of a rock record,” NME’s Ben Patashnik asserted, adding: “Royal Blood aren't here merely to drag rock music out of the ghetto. Their impact will surely stretch beyond rock’s confines.” 8/10

3Kate Tempest – ‘Everybody Down’

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Kate Tempest – ‘Everybody Down’
The south London rapper “is excellent, balancing deft flow and dense storytelling to the detriment of neither, [writing] complex and believable characters, each one carrying their problems like a lead weight hung inside their heart,” according to Louis Pattison. 8/10

4Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’

Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’
Of the London band’s fourth album, Leonie Cooper wrote: “If you’re one of those people who’ve never quite understood the allure of this band, ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ could be the moment when everything clicks. After years of chopping and changing, Bombay Bicycle Club have finally found an iteration worth sticking with.” 7/10

5FKA Twigs – ‘LP1’

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FKA Twigs – ‘LP1’
“Tahliah Barnett's craft is ripe for the digital age, when artists are increasingly discovered through screens and devices, and sound is aligned with image more closely than ever before. [Her] pervading sense of control and commitment to her art proves that Twigs is set on building the sound of the future all by herself,” assessed NME’s Hazel Sheffield. 8/10

6Jungle – ‘Jungle’

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Jungle – ‘Jungle’
Mark Beaumont declared Jungle’s self-titled debut to have “a tone of inner-city malaise, romantic ruin and psychedelic alienation... The sound of a 21st Century ‘What’s Going On’, a sister-piece to Bobby Womack’s Albarn-produced ‘The Bravest Man In The Universe’.” 8/10

7East India Youth – ‘Total Strife Forever’

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East India Youth – ‘Total Strife Forever’
William Doyle’s Foals-punning debut is “an exercise in Doyle using electronic sounds to express himself in a way he never could with rock music,” according to Phil Hebblethwaite. He summised: “It’s well executed, quite odd, highly original and full of promise – exactly what you want from a debut album.” 8/10

8Young Fathers – ‘Dead’

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Young Fathers – ‘Dead’
Phil Hebblethwaite found the Glaswegian group’s Scottish, Liberian and Nigerian heritage to be “key to getting a grasp on their wild mash of sonic and lyrical styles.” “Yet somehow they’ve retained their pop nous, making for an album that’s unique, but maddeningly all over the place,” he continued.” 7/10

9Polar Bear – ‘In Each And Every One’

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Polar Bear – ‘In Each And Every One’
Noel Gardner said of the jazz group’s fifth: “[It’s] affecting and stylistically broad, but the dreamlike trumpet, blurry electronics and hard-rock drums form an evolving landscape, rather than showily leaping between styles. Nocturnal glowers like ‘Open See’ are as much Polar Bear’s essence as the outburst of ‘WW’.” 7/10

10Anna Calvi – ‘One Breath’

Anna Calvi – ‘One Breath’
“On ‘One Breath’, Calvi has created something all her own. There’s new confidence here, and a sense that she’s stretching herself musically and lyrically,” wrote Andy Welch. 8/10

11Nick Mulvey – ‘First Mind’

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Nick Mulvey – ‘First Mind’
The Communion signed singer-songwriter was a founding member of Portico Quartet before going it alone. ‘First Mind’ is his debut solo record and boasts influences from African trance to western troubadours.

12GoGo Penguin – ‘v2.0’

GoGo Penguin – ‘v2.0’
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GoGo Penguin – ‘v2.0’
The jazz piano trio use their dance influences to make something more accessible and youthful than the staple usually associated with the sound, while staying true to the genre.
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