Mercury Nominees 2014: Bombay Bicycle Club

In the second of our Mercury fact files, released each day until the ceremony on 30 October, here’s the London group whose popularity has grown steadily, subtly, for nearly a decade

• Mercury nominees 2014: Anna Calvi

Who? North London quartet who, rather than revolutionise guitar music, gently tweak its stems to make a multi-layered sound. Named after an Indian restaurant chain, the band formed while at school, before winning Road to V in 2006. Their popularity grows album upon album, with this, their nominated album reaching No 1 in the album charts, staving off competition from EDM overlord Avicii. The album was also inspired by the work of 19th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, motion-picture fact fans.

The album: So Long, See You Tomorrow

Previous releases to date:
2009 – I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose
2010 – Flaws
2011 – A Different Kind of Fix

What we said: “With [Jack] Steadman taking production duties, the album’s ambition is palpable; and yet that ambition feels undermined by his diffidence as a singer, the lack of blood and pulse in his lyrics, the marshmallow softness of his voice.”

What they said: “I think the travelling gave me a sense of wellbeing rather than any direct musical influence. Also, we were getting more inspired by samples. They become the springboard for your song and, whether it’s an Indian song or something with Thai chanting, you should never deny that inspiration just because it sounds silly or because the thought of it is weird.” – Jack Steadman

Notable Mercury-friendly accolades: This year’s list is noticeably focused on new voices, with 46-year-old Damon Albarn a virtual veteran compared to the rest of the nominees. The band’s popularity among teens is no wonder, as the album mutates a range of influences; a patchwork-like quality which satisfies the appetite of the post-internet generation whose music taste is less tribalism and more about eclecticism.

Likelihood of winning: 12 of the prize’s 23 winners have been albums created by bands, of varying degrees of seminal status. In recent years, winners Alt-J and the XX have represented the young groups shaping the new British sound, while Elbow were awarded seemingly though sheer perseverance and consistency in 2008. BBC sit somewhere awkwardly in between these two categories, and that may just work in their favour: throughout their four albums, their music has nudged the evolution of modern indie onwards – spurring a throng of similarly apathetic and fey songwriters, who hint at, rather than flaunt, their admiration of electronic music (normally just subtly enough not to overwhelm the overall melody - or to stop it from being used as a soundbed on Made In Chelsea). The odds are currently at 16/1, but bearing in mind the group’s vast following and this album’s success – if the judges fancied backing a group whose fanbase has risen steadily and without hyperbolic fanfare, then this would be it.

Stream the album:


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