So it’s Mercury Prize time again, where a bunch of albums are put together under the banner of the best British releases from the past twelve months, with one ultimately being crowned the winner this coming Tuesday (September 9).

In 2007 the winner was Klaxons ‘Myths Of The Near Future’, with other previous successes including Arctic Monkeys ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not’ (2006), Antony and the Johnsons ‘I Am a Bird Now’ (2005), PJ Harvey ‘Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea’ (2001) and Talvin Singh ‘OK’ (1999).

This year the heavyweight contender is Radiohead ‘In Rainbows’, and a fine winner it would be were it to get the title. The media spotlight was directed full in the faces of Yorke and co when they took the decision to release ‘In Rainbows’ early as a download, giving fans the chance to choose the price they wanted to pay. Luckily with all the hype the actual record was worth the wait to which is ultimately how it should be judged.

The Mercury Prize throughout it’s history has thrown up a curveball or two with the winners, so who else is in line for the award. Here’s R13’s guide to some of the other options that we think should walk away with the title:

British Sea Power - ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’
Simon Webb (Deputy Editor)

Here’s an example of why the Mercury Prize is worth taking notice of. British Sea Power are that classic case of the under the radar band, never likely to be nominated for anything, yet, for once, they’re given their time in the spotlight.

Looking back at their career to date, this record is clearly the band’s most confident, mixing powerful rock with more subtle lighter moments, plus in ‘The Great Skua’ they’ve an instrumental offering worthy of any Sigur Ros offering. Maybe, just maybe, were BSP to walk away with the honour of album of the year, they might start to get attention similar to that of the Icelanders.

Burial - ‘Untrue’
Simon Harrington (Staff Writer with an opinion or two to share if you’d care to listen)

Chris Rock famously said, “Pretty much whatever music you were listening to when you started getting laid, you’re going to love forever”. I fucking love UK two-step garage. But like a lot of things from my youth (my sex life included) it regretfully died a slow and agonizing death many years ago.

‘Untrue’ isn’t garage as we know it. The correct term is, of course, Dubstep. But when done properly, Dubstep is the more sophisticated grown up brother of UK garage. It’s gone off traveling for a few years and come back with a more chilled out insightful take on the world around it.

‘Untrue’ may take inspiration from two-step, but it couldn’t be anymore different. It’s soft, relaxed and surprisingly vocal. Yet, there is an unmistakeable shroud of darkness hanging over the otherwise upbeat theme of the album.

Why should this album win? Because it’s equally sinister and beautiful, it’s unique yet accessible, it’s so confused and yet it works so well. The Mercury Prize is about striving for that cutting edge. It’s about applauding those who do things a little differently. Untrue ticks all of these boxes. Granted, it is a little left field and probably doesn’t figure in the playlist of a single Arctic Monkeys band member, but that’s what Mercury is all about. Isn’t it?

Elbow - ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’
Andy Reilly (staff writer)

I’ve been working on a cocktail for the Mercury Awards…woah-oh-woah-oh-woah
Thinking of a band that the rest are beneath… woah-oh-woah-oh-woah
Everybody’s got their favourites but theres only choice… woah-oh-woah-oh-woah
Its Elbow and their classic
The Seldom Seen Kid
The Seldom Seen Kid
The Seldom Seen Kid

We could continue but for ‘Grounds For Divorce’ alone, Elbow should have half the awards being dished out in 2008 in the bag but they’ve only went and produced a full album of genius tunes. Compared to some other bands that have had a lot more success with poorer songs, Elbow have never quite made it over the top so this award would be perfect to launch Elbow onto a much wider audience.

Some say the Mercury’s should be about promoting new and up and coming talent and this has to be respected but sometimes it should be used to give proper dues to a band who have worked immensely hard throughout the years. Elbow have been improving on every album and the only plausible reason not to give them this award for ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ is that they will likely top it in a few years time.

They should get this award but if they don’t, everyone should still raise a glass and drink to ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’.

Last Shadow Puppets - ‘The Age of the Understatement’
Jo Vallance (Online Editor)

Not being a fan of Alex Turner's other band, Arctic Monkeys, I was relatively dismissive of his forming a new band with Rascal Miles Kane, but as soon as 'The Age of Understatement' exploded onto the radio with its grandiose strings and relentless speed, I was eating my words. The Last Shadow Puppets could be the best thing to come from an Arctic Monkey with Turner's penchant for realistic, gritty lyrics matched with gorgeous orchestral glamour and sweeping sounds that are clearly also influenced by Kane's 60's pop writing. Many have said that the Shadow Puppets' nomination is unfair and shows bias following Arctic Monkeys' own 2006 win, but 'The Age of Understatement' shows just the kind of innovation that the Mercury Prize should reward, while also proving its worth by appealing to a wide fan base. While Arctic Monkeys are raw and "down with the kids" The Last Shadow Puppets have a refined, elegant and poetic feel deserve to take the prize because theirs is a refreshing sound with ecstatic drama reigning from start to finish. As a handy taster try the title track or 'Calm Like You'.

Neon Neon - ‘Stainless Style’
Andy Reilly (again, you can’t keep a good man down)

Let’s skip to the chase with why Neon Neon should win this years Nationwide Mercury Prize. The committee have failed the British nation by never once awarding this “prestigious” prize to the Super Furry Animals and they would go a long way to making amends for this shameful oversight by allowing Neon Neon their moment in the spotlight.

This act is m ade up from the SFA’s lead singer Gruff Rhys and producer Boom Bip and is as willfully melodic and ambitious as anything the singer’s full time band has managed to conjure up. Not enough albums these days tell the listener a story and that’s exactly what ‘Stainless Style’ manages to with its concept album around the life and times of John DeLorean, maker of that crazy car in Back To The Future all you 80s revivalists love so well.

And this album matches the 80s revival of today but throws in pop classics like ‘I Told Her On Alderaan’ and blends it with sleazy funk tracks like ‘Trick For Treat.’ There are not many albums better than this one around and there is no more deserving candidate.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - ‘Raising Sands’
Andrew M. Reilly (it is a different person, honest, the previous one’s Scottish, this ones American…it took us a while to get used to it too)

People talk about and hand awards to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' 'Raising Sand' for being a great blues album, or a great folk album, or a great revival of a class of American folk believed to be extinct, and those people have it all wrong. For all the talk of how much of a blues band Led Zeppelin always was, the fact remains they were always better at building on or stealing from the blues than actually playing it; for all the talk of Krauss being a great roots musician, her work has always been more forward-thinking than most casual reviewers might realize. At first glance, 'Raising Sand' proved everyone right about the duo's abilities, yet every song on the album was so well-executed and shone in such unexpected fashion the duo actually ended up proving everyone wrong about their respective bodies of work. If that isn't the definition of greatness, nothing is.

Best Track on the Album: ‘Please Read the Letter’. Plant once sang how the letter you wrote made him sad, sad, sad; consider this the Golden God's revenge.

And for the record the other contenders not mentioned yet are:

Adele - '19'
Estelle - 'Shine'
Laura Marling - 'Alas I Cannot Swim'
Portico Quartet - 'Knee-Deep In The North Sea'
Rachel Unthank And The Winterset - 'The Bairns’