Arctic Monkeys, arguably Britain’s biggest rock band, are among the 12 nominees for the 2018 Mercury Prize.
Their space lounge concept album, Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, earns the band a fourth nomination for the award, established in 1992 as a high-minded alternative to the Brits.
But the quartet face stiff competition from the likes of Jorja Smith, Lily Allen and Florence + The Machine.
Other nominees include Wolf Alice, Noel Gallagher and jazz act Sons of Kemet.
Several of the shortlisted albums are overtly political, with Nadine Shah’s Holiday Destination and Everything Everything’s A Fever Dream addressing the rise of right-wing, anti-immigration sentiment.
London MC Novelist, meanwhile, delivers a strong anti-violence message on his self-produced debut album, Novelist Guy; and Sons Of Kemet’s Your Queen Is A Lizard celebrates powerful black women who’ve been overlooked by history.
Other nominees turn their attention inwards, with Florence + The Machine displaying a new level of vulnerability on High As Hope; and Jorja Smith chronicling the bumpy road to adulthood on her streetwise debut Lost & Found.
Pop star Lily Allen receives her first ever nomination for her fourth album, No Shame, an emotional depiction of her marital breakdown and struggles with self-worth.
Last year’s winner, Sampha, also features heavily on the soulful Everything Is Recorded, a collaborative album put together by the head of XL Records, Richard Russell – aka “the man who signed Adele”.
Although the award has a reputation for rewarding up-and-coming acts, there are only three debut albums on this year’s list, alongside two number one records and five former nominees.
Arctic Monkeys, who previously won the prize for their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, are now the second most-nominated act in the award’s 26-year history.
Only Radiohead have more nominations, with five, although they’ve never taken home the trophy.
PJ Harvey also has four nominations – and is the only artist to win the award twice, for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea in 2001 and Let England Shake in 2011.
The shortlist was drawn up by a panel of judges including musicians Marcus Mumford, Jamie Cullum and Ella Eyre, alongside broadcasters Clara Amfo and Mistajam, and a handful of music critics and journalists.
They said the nominees held a “shared belief in the importance of music for navigating life’s challenges – whether personal or political, falling in or out of love, growing up or looking back, angry or ecstatic.”
The full shortlist for the 2018 prize is:
- Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
- Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
- Everything Is Recorded – Everything Is Recorded
- Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
- Jorja Smith – Lost & Found
- King Krule – The Ooz
- Lily Allen – No Shame
- Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination
- Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built The Moon?
- Novelist – Novelist Guy
- Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Lizard
- Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life