Its not often a favourite wins the Mercury Prize but in a move that served to buck the trend last night’s prize went to none other than the Arctic Monkeys. Up against competition from Thom Yorke, Hot Chip, Editors, Guillemots, Isobel Campbell, Zoe Rahman, Scritti Politti, Sway, Lou Rhodes, Richard Hawley and Muse.
The Sheffield band who have a notoriously reticent relationship with the press and music industry at large were initially reluctant to attend much less actually play at the event. However upon receipt of the prize frontman Alex Turner did step up and give a brief speech stating that fellow nominee Richard Hawley should have been the winner of the prize.
Its been something of a tumultuous year for the band as their first album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” emerged out of nowhere to become one of this years most successful album. It also signalled the start of a year of intensive touring that led to some degree of success in the States.
Along the way however the band managed to lose its bass player Andy Nicholson but returned with the EP “Who The Fuck Are The Arctic Monkeys?” However such a rapid release of new material saw the band attracting criticism from some circles for being too quick off the mark to flood the market with new material while the album was still relatively fresh. The band countered the argument by stating they didn’t want to be touring old material when they had a ready supply ready to be released.
In the betting stakes the band were always hotly tipped to win but this year there were fewer rumours circulating to give the casual punter an idea of who to place their money on. There was however some contention from Hot Chip and Richard Hawley at the bookies but this time round it was the favourites who caused the “upset”.
In light of their success one has to wonder whether the twenty grand prize money will actually make that much of a difference to the band at this stage. The Arctic Monkeys are currently back in the studio recording their follow up album.