So: tonight is the night.
In a few hours time the winner of the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2017 will be announced, ending months of arguments, debates and speculation.
Clash will be there representing the cause, so here's a run-down of how we viewed each of the nominated albums...
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alt-j - 'Relaxer'
"Named ‘Relaxer’, the record lives up to its title, an anaesthetising eight-track aural experience. The trio’s signature, folktronic sound is placed on the backburner, and what leads is a mix of redolent, cabin-fever creations – hymnal, with a touch of pastoral..." - REVIEW
Blossoms - 'Blossoms'
"Blossoms have produced an album of perfectly structured songs accompanied by strong lyrics that tell many tales to the large cult they seem to have already acquired..." - REVIEW
Dinosaur - 'Together, As One'
An excellent jazz album. Will it win? Perhaps not, but definitely a worthy nomination...
Ed Sheeran - 'Divide'
"A record which is astonishingly assured. Sheeran may present himself as the regular dude in an Etnies tee and a pair of Vans who got lucky, but he’s clearly honed his craft over a long period. Every single track on ‘÷’ has a strong hook, a nagging melody, something that makes it stick in your head. It’s rare to hear a song for the first time and feel like it instantly lodges in your mind but on ‘÷’, Sheeran somehow repeats that trick on 16 separate occasions..." - REVIEW
Glass Animals - 'How to be A Human Being'
"We should admire the musical cojones Glass Animals have displayed by deciding to drastically alter what we were just starting to recognise as the ‘Glass Animals sound’ so soon after its inception, even if (as I suspect) this move turns out to be premature..." - REVIEW
J Hus - 'Common Sense'
"There’s something for pretty much every setting on this album. The production across the board is outstanding – when we spoke with Hus last year, he talked about the chemistry he has with regular studio sparring partner, Jae5, and it’s on show in spades here. And the other thing here in spades? Hooks. So many hooks." - REVIEW
Kate Tempest - 'Let Them Eat Chaos'
"‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ is engaging and at only 48 minutes it doesn't outstay its welcome. Tempest seems to relish the challenge of delivering a concise but complex story over a compelling variety of instrumentals. Aside from a few overly earnest observations, ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ is one of the most unique and interesting projects of 2016." - REVIEW
Loyle Carner - 'Yesterday’s Gone'
"UK hip-hop’s most unique break through in a long time – already known for a sort of laid-back vulnerability, a confidently pared-down, soulful sound – is south London and proud. As such his debut LP, Yesterday’s Gone, is rooted right there, and is inhabited by all the people and places that he calls home." - INTERVIEW
Sampha - 'Process'
"With ‘Process’, Sampha sings that life is about the arduous journey and not the end destination. That goes for his gradual but measured ascent from a supporting player to a fully-fledged artiste who has chosen to surrender his submissiveness in favour of an emotional epiphany. ‘Process’ is his ‘Carrie And Lowell’, a healing record for the broken, the lovelorn and the lost." - REVIEW
Stormzy - 'Gang Signs & Prayer'
"Stormzy, it seems, is the everyman MC. Adored by everyone from Ed Sheeran to Adele, from the disaffected youth who constituted grime’s original, core audience, to the Nandos-munching students hashtagging along to his hits, he has penetrated the mainstream more quickly, and more effectively, than almost any MC before him – save, perhaps, Dizzee Rascal." - REVIEW
The Big Moon - 'Love in the 4th Dimension'
"Yeah there's a lot of variation on there, lots of changes from what we play live, y’know more chilled out. But yeah, lots of variety. I like that because you never really know which way a song is gonna go the first time you here it. Hopefully everyone will find it as exciting as we do." - INTERVIEW
The xx - 'I See You'
"It’s intimate and minimal, sure, but also expansive when it needs to be, switching twilight hues for something a little brighter. It’s marked by despair, for sure, but also hope; the balance of fear and possibility that abandon brings." - REVIEW
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