It’s all to play for in the Mercury Prize 2018 as the bookmakers struggle to pick a hot favourite from this year's 12 shortlisted albums.
Jazz act Sons of Kemet’s ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’ and singer-songwriter Nadine Shah’s ‘Holiday Destination’ are the shortest at 5/1, followed by King Krule’s ‘The Ooz’ and Jorja Smith’s ‘Lost & Found’ (both 6/1).
Twelve albums in total have been shortlisted from range of contemporary music genres by independent judges to battle it out to win the coveted ‘album of the year’ title, along with £20,000 prize money (see full list and odds below).
Paddy’s head of PR, Lee Price, told SBC: “This is a wide open betting event with joint-favourites at 5/1 (Sons of Kemet & Nadine Shah). This implies both of them have something in the region of a 16% chance of winning the award, reflecting how close it is.
“Sons of Kemet is the only jazz genre representative and, as such, would be a bit of an unknown quantity. That, coupled with the underlying story that the album is a tribute to “nine remarkable black women” and their efforts to create a jazz masterpiece, would also be factored into their favourable pricing.”
Initial favourites the Arctic Monkeys are now as long as 8/1 with Paddy Power, along with other big names including Lily Allen, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Florence + the Machine and Wolf Alice.
Also in the running are Everything Is Recorded (9/1), Novelist (10/1) and Everything Everything (10/1).
Price said: “It’s always a difficult award to predict given the range of genres covered and also the spectrum across which the entrants are generated – for example, you can end up with debut albums (e.g. Everything is Recorded this year) going up against well-established names.
“Part of the Mercury Prize’s shtick is being unpredictable. Which is great, just not for bookies.”
Hyundai Mercury Prize 2018 shortlist:
Arctic Monkeys – ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’
Everything Everything – ‘A Fever Dream’
Everything is Recorded – ‘Everything is Recorded’
Florence + The Machine – ‘High as Hope’
Jorja Smith – ‘Lost & Found’
King Krule – ‘The Ooz’
Lily Allen – ‘No Shame’
Nadine Shah – ‘Holiday Destination’
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – ‘Who Built the Moon?’