Top band shortlisted for major award

By Jonathan BarnesRISING rock stars The Darkness have been shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, it has been revealed.The flamboyant foursome from Lowestoft were nominated for their debut album Permission To Land, which touched down at number two in the UK charts.

By Jonathan Barnes

RISING rock stars The Darkness have been shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, it has been revealed.

The flamboyant foursome from Lowestoft were nominated for their debut album Permission To Land, which touched down at number two in the UK charts.

But they face tough competition from top-selling pop groups Radiohead and Coldplay, who have been installed as joint favourites to scoop the award.


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The Darkness are rated as 6-1 shots for the £20,000 prize, sponsored by Panasonic, when the winner is announced on September 9.

Justin Hawkins, the group's charismatic frontman, said a triumph for his band “would really put the British Isles on the map”.

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He added: “The UK music industry needs us and we are here for it. The award has great prestige and it would be a real boost to win it. It is an honour and a privilege to be shortlisted.”

The shaggy-haired quartet, who include Justin's guitarist brother Dan, have shot to fame with their classic rock songs and outlandish antics.

They stormed the charts with single Growing On Me last month and their album sold more than 12,000 copies on the day it was released.

Judges for the Mercury Music Prize called Permission To Land “rock without inhibitions” and “utterly exhilarating”.

Radiohead have been nominated for the third time with their album Hail to the Thief, while Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head follows their debut Parachutes as a Mercury nominee. Both are rated at 4-1 to take the title.

Eight of the shortlisted releases are debut albums, although Martina Topley-Bird - nominated for her album Quixotic - has been up for the prize in previous years.

She provided the vocals for Tricky's Maximquaye album, which competed for the 1995 award.

Garage star DizzeeRascal - nominated for his Boy in Da Corner album - is on the shortlist two weeks after being hospitalised in a stabbing incident in Cyprus, where he was performing.

Other stars to be nominated for their debut releases are The Thrills, Soweto Kinch, Athlete, Floetry, Terri Walker, Lemon Jelly and Eliza Carthy.

jonathan.barnes@eadt.co.uk

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