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Wednesday, September 05, 2007 

The usual Mercury nonsense.

Is anyone really that surprised that the Mercury judges picked a relative outsider for this year's prize? It's not as if they haven't made a habit of it in the past; picking M People in 1994 against Parklife and more than decent albums by both the Prodigy and Pulp; Roni Size's drum and bass excursion in 1997 against OK Computer; Talvin Singh in 1999; Ms Dynamite in 2002 instead of the Coral's top 10 of the decade debut, as well as Doves' finest album and the Electric Soft Parade's exhilarating Holes in the Wall; and then Antony and the Johnsons two years ago. Last year's selection of the Arctic Monkeys was safe and disappointing, especially considering how their follow-up this year is so much better in all departments, and when it was up against entries from Guillemots, Hot Chip and Thom Yorke.

All of which is to be a little unfair to the Klaxons. They have never been "new rave", which was a term dreamt up by the NME to summarise a number of bands that had emerged that had taken to using synths and whom unlike other recent indie groups didn't sneer at "dance music" in general. Only really Atlantis to Interzone, Magick and the (poor) cover of Grace's Not Over Yet have been influenced by "rave". The real "new rave" movement is being lead by Justice, Digitalism and Simian Mobile Disco (James Ford, half of SMD, did incidentally produce Myths of the Near Future, but he also twiddled the knobs on Favourite Worst Nightmare) and arguably, bands like CSS and New Young Pony Club, who owe much more to dance music than the Klaxons ever have.

Much chortling
has been going on over the Grauniad's rather mean review which gave Myths one star, especially considering that it's a solid debut, led by the brilliant singles. It's just that the other tracks are more than a little dull; most of the remixes have been far better. If effort alone was the deciding factor, then Maps' We Can Create, created in James Chapman's Northampton bedroom would have been the run-away winner, a thrillingly melodic trip through shoegaze, noise and My Bloody Valentine-ism. Other worthy candidates should have been Bat for Lashes, which was the favourite with the bookmakers, the Arctics for coming up with a far superior record to their debut within a year and the Young Knives, whose album I, err, previously described thusly:

Never forgetting that wit and humour have just as much of a place in music as they have in everything else, the Knives' debut is filled with the sort of infectious melodies and riffing that the Libertines followers have utterly missed. The singles, The Decision, She's Attracted To and Here Comes The Rumour Mill are joined by the insanely catchy chorus of Mystic Energy, the slow-burning In The Pink and the ode to dead towns that is Loughborough Suicide. That they're great live too is simply a bonus.

A nomination for ¡Forward, Russia!'s self-financed debut, Give Me A Wall wouldn't have gone amiss either, although we can at least be glad that the insanely overrated Ms Winehouse and yet another awful band riding the Libertines' shirt-tails, the View, didn't win.

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This is probably the best article regarding this year's Mercury's I've read...

Glad to see you mentioned Justice & Simian Mobile Disco!

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