Bookies already taking bets

PJ Harvey has been installed as the bookies favourite to win the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize.

One of the most high profile awards in British music, the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize can have an enormous effect on a band's career. Elbow, The xx and more have benefited from the boost in exposure winning the trophy can bring.

Returning for another ceremony, the shortlist for the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize is set to be announced next week. The short ceremony on Tuesday (July 19th) will unveil the shortlist, with feverish speculation about who will appear.

Bookmakers William Hill are already taking bets with PJ Harvey installed as the early frontrunner. 'Let England Shake' was released earlier this year and was a wonderful exploration of the effect war and Imperialism can have on the British national character.

Rich in detail, the evocative - sometimes disturbing - lyrics were matched by a musical tapestry which moves from dream pop to music hall songwriting, while at one point PJ Harvey even uses a reggae sample.

PJ Harvey has been given odds of 4/1 to win the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize, which is perhaps not surprising given that she has won the award before. 2001's 'Stories From The City Stories From The Sea' won the Mercury, however the singer was stranded in New York after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

To date, no one has won the Barclaycard Mercury Music Price twice and PJ Harvey faces some tough competition. According to William Hill, other frontrunners include Adele (5/1) and Wild Beasts (8/1).

Further down the list, big hitters such as Elbow and Radiohead are tied on an extremely enticing 33/1. Infamously, Radiohead have never won the Mercury despite numerous nominations - could 2011 be their year?

“The past year has been fantastic for British music, with Adele really setting the benchmark, but we believe PJ Harvey has the slight edge and is leading the market,” said Hill’s spokesman Joe Crilly. “But with a number of big names in the running, it is guaranteed to be a close one this year.”

The shortlist for the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize will be announced on Tuesday (July 19th).

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