In all the furore surrounding the award of the Mercury Prize, Maximo Park, who were shortlisted, have been somewhat overlooked. This is a shame, because “Going Missing” is a perfect pop song: http://www.maximopark.com/
Rumour has it that the judges chose Antony and the Johnsons because to choose Bloc Party or Hard-Fi would have been “too predictable”. Predictable for a British music prize to be awarded to, er, British artists singing about what happens around them in their, er, British lives? “I am a Bird Now”, while beautiful in a slightly unsettling way, is full of American-inspired torch songs in an American setting, and it is surely a category error to suggest it as the most appropriate winner. If the judges wanted to be unpredictable they should have gone for the folk contingent (Seth Lakeman), and that way they could have annoyed almost everyone in equal measure.
But what do I know. I have lived in Hong Kong for nearly three years now, and I’m sure my music taste is slowly being skewed as a result. Not so much that I think that Cantopop, J-pop or “The Ongoing Frenzy of the Korean Wave” (pace Pearl TV’s ridiculously breathy voiceovers) is where it’s at, though. Yet.