The Jukebox Mercury Junior Barclaycard Music Prize Draw

Probably our dozen favourite British albums of the past 12 months:

David Holmes, The Holy Pictures
Bloc Party, Intimacy
Los Campesinos!, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
The Invisible, The Invisible
Higamos Hogamos, Higamos Hogamos
Dananananaykroyd, Hey Everyone!
The Horrors, Primary Colours
The Wave Pictures, If You Leave It Alone
Eg, Adventure Man
God Help The Girl, God Help The Girl
Little Boots, Hands
Damian Lazarus, Smoke The Monster Out

Winner to be announced when we get over the mediocrity of the list.

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[20] Bloc Party, ‘Banquet’

Bloc Party

LET’S START 2004 then.

They’ve had a tough time of it, Bloc Party. Unconfirmed reports suggest they were the first band whipped by a backlash before they’d even been hyped, and the strikes only got fiercer when Kele Okereke had the temerity to fill their second album with a few prosaic lyrics. The horror! Then Kele went and got himself beaten up – and allegedly racially abused – by John Lydon and his lackeys, and everyone felt a bit awkward. Don’t worry; the metaphorical boot will get put back in when that fourth album comes around.

Do they deserve the sneers? I put the question to Junior, who gave me a look that said she’d woken up at 6am and wasn’t ready for any query more complex than “Jam or Marmite?” It was a loquacious look. I diluted the quiz – do you like this? A nod. Good choppy guitars? A nod. Can you say “Bloc Party?” “Bloc Party.”

Sometimes that’s enough.

Urgent, spiky, yelpy – ‘Banquet’ bears a mark of promise that’s occasionally been fulfilled over three diverting albums. I think they’ve done OK.

On fire: