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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Mercury contenders: Your reviews
Earlier this month we asked readers to tell us why their favourite album from the Mercury Music Prize nominees list should win the honour.

We have chosen the most passionate, perceptive and persuasive entries for each album, which you can read by clicking on the links below.

On the basis of which argument convinces you the most, vote for which album you would most like to see win the Mercury Music Prize on 5 September.

Arctic Monkeys
Arctic Monkeys:
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan:
Ballad of The Broken Seas

The Back Room

Through The Windowpane

Richard Hawley
Richard Hawley:
Coles Corner

Hot Chip
Hot Chip:
The Warning


For me there can only be one winner. The Arctic Monkeys have not only been a breath of fresh air to British music with their whimsical anecdotes about life in suburban England, but have also caused a cultural phenomenon.

Arctic Monkeys

The Mercury Prize should be about the song writing and lyrical work that the bands put in.

No other artists can claim to be as diverse in their writing as the Arctic Monkeys.

The fact that their work would struggle to be picked up by other major markets such as the US, should be testament to just how clever their writing is.

They have aimed their writing at the UK, something which itself should be celebrated.

I urge each and every person to obtain a copy of this album and make sure that on 5 September, the Arctic Monkeys are rewarded for their craft.


This collaborative record should win the Mercury Prize hands-down. Never before have two very different singers worked together so well with such amazing results.

Ballad of the Broken Seas is the creative peak of both artists careers.

Isobel Campbell

Mark Lanegan has had the longer career, being a veteran of Seattle's Grunge scene with Psych-Rockers the Screaming Trees.

He worked with many artists, including Kurt Kobain, but never truly achieved the status of other Seattle veterans such as Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell.

I think he truly deserves the exposure that the Mercury Prize would give him, as he has been in the game since 1983, and produced many records of truly great music, whether it be him rocking out with the Trees, or his more personal solo sets.

Campbell's vocals perfectly complement Lanegan's, and her song writing is perfect. Having saw her play live this year, I can say she is a truly talented individual, as she was playing the cello, then guitar, as well as singing and playing some percussion.

Ballad Of The Broken Seas is the album of 2006, and these two artists should get the respect and recognition they deserve.


The Back Room, what can one say?

Majestic yet innocent, uplifting yet encasing.

Tom Smith's voice along with the excellent musical backing of Ed Lay, Russell Leech and Chris Urbanowitz make each song as awe-inspiring as the next.

This album makes you want to jump, shout - nay, scream - your delight and scramble for others to hear it as well.

The distinct sounds of Munich make your hairs stand on end, Bullets is as anthemic as any song this year and those are to name but a few.

The key word with this album is anthemic and it makes the listener gain back their faith in modern alternative music. Truly Spectacular.


I first discovered the surreal quartet that is Guillemots towards the end of 2005 and, since then, I haven't been able to get enough of them.


They write songs by their own rules, tear down the usual songwriting conventions, resulting in something far more enchanting than anybody could have expected.

The songs are honest, beautiful and easy to listen to and, as a result, this album has no filler tracks and those you feel inclined to skip.

It's easy to listen to the whole album in one session, something which I rarely - if ever - experience.

I expected this album to be something special, but nothing could have prepared me for the masterpiece of sound that was the final product.

From the gentle, awakening orchestral strings of Little Bear, to the grand explosive finale of the hauntingly beautiful Sao Paulo, Through The Windowpane is the band's first true masterpiece.

RICHARD HAWLEY by BELLA, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Trying to compare Richard Hawley with the Arctic Monkeys is a little like comparing a mysterious and complex pudding with the perfect salty chip. One isn't better than the other- you just can't do it, they are too different to decide which is better.

That's how I feel about the Mercury shortlist- very good work, wildly contrasting, impossible to compare.

The only one to swallow me whole has been Richard Hawley's Coles Corner.

Spellbound and mesmerised? Yes. Seduced and left reeling? Oh yes.

Coles Corner is a melancholy, subtle and deeply romantic body of work straddling (for indeed it is sexy) past and present, never straying into self-absorption or pretentious whimsy.

It has emotion and glamour of a kind, a feeling of strangeness, a hint of David Lynch's finer moments. If I had to pick a last supper, this would be The One.

HOT CHIP by NICK SAMPSON, Monmouthshire

This is their second album and I think they have found a crisp individual sound that has brought different music genres together to create something individual.

For me this is what the Mercury Music Prize is all about - judging albums on what they are and what it is achieving, and not on the basis of a popularity contest.

But it seems to be an award that doesn't know its own position and purpose sometimes, and therefore lacks consistency in its reasoning for winners.

Based on our readers' reviews, which act would you like to see win the Mercury Music Prize?
Arctic Monkeys
Isobel Campbell
Richard Hawley
Hot Chip
Zoe Rahman
Lou Rhodes
Scritti Politti
Thom Yorke
2507 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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