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Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 09:31 UK
Portishead 'should win' Mercury
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

James Ford
James Ford has started work on Klaxons' second album

The producer of last year's Nationwide Mercury Prize winner, Myths of the Near Future by Klaxons, reckons this could be Portishead's year.

James Ford is one of the UK's most in demand producers, having worked with Mystery Jets on their debut album Making Dens and the Arctic Monkeys' second album Favourite Worst Nightmare - itself a Mercury nominee last year.

Ford, one half of electronic house outfit Simian Mobile Disco, who had a massive hit with the Justice remixed We Are Your Friends, has also just started work on Klaxons' second album.

Klaxons
Klaxons celebrate last year's win

It could be Ford's year again as he has worked with Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner on The Age of the Understatement, the debut album by The Last Shadow Puppets.

It has been nominated this year and is an early favouite to win.

But speaking before the shortlist was announced, Ford told Radio 1's Huw Stephens that another band deserves the honour.

He said: "Putting my own allegiances aside, I'd probably plump for Portishead, I think that record's really good.

"I think the production's really daring and interesting and also, they won it before and it might be a quite nice story that there's been such a big gap and they've won it again."

Portishead, led by producer Geoff Barrow and featuring guitarist Adrian Utley and singer Beth Rowley, won the Mercury in 1995 with their album Dummy.

They beat a shortlist that included Oasis' first album Definitely Maybe and Tricky's Maxinquaye.

Their latest album Third has been lavishly praised by critics. With the exception of a live album in 1998, it's their first record in over ten years.

'Watching on telly'

In 2007, Amy Winehouse was the bookie's favourite so there was genuine surprise when Klaxons were named winners by the judging panel.

Portishead
1995 winners Portishead are tipped for success this year with their album, Third

Ford admitted it came as a bit of a shock to him as he watched the ceremony at home.

He said: "I was watching it on the telly and when they won I spat my dinner out and got in a cab and went and joined the party."

This year, the shortlist is expected to include the likes of Radiohead, Coldplay, dubstep artist Burial and Foals.

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