Mercury Prize nomination for Newcastle University colleagues

Hazel Wilde and Bob Allan’s band Lanterns on the Lake has been shortlisted for one of the music industry’s top awards for their album Spook the Herd.

An honour

Lanterns on the Lake. Hazel Wilde, centre, and Bob Allan, right.

They have been shortlisted alongside some of the biggest names in music including grime superstar Stormzy and chart topper Dua Lipa.

“It feels really special to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award, the Mercury Prize has long been the ‘go-to’ list of the best British and Irish albums made each year, so to be one of the 12 nominations for 2020 has blown us away,” said Bob, the band’s bassist and the University’s Engagement Support Coordinator.

”We have been making music and touring for years now and we put everything in to this new album, so it means a lot and for a band like us it will lead to so many more people discovering the record. It’s an honour to be included alongside so many great artists, just being shortlisted, we feel like we’ve already won!”

A beautiful plot twist

Spook the Herd is the band’s fourth studio album and its themes include the environment and social media. They were due to tour this year but had to rearrange the dates to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hazel, the group’s singer, is a trial administrator in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. “We’ve always put our hearts into the music we make – but never more so than with this album.” she said. “We’re especially proud of this one. So to have it recognised in this way means more than I can say.

“With the tours being cancelled and everything being put on hold it was crushing to think that the record could be forgotten about. Then, right when we thought the story was over for this album, it gets nominated for the Mercury Prize. What a beautiful plot twist.”

Announcing the shortlist, the prize judges said: “In these difficult and uncertain times the Hyundai Mercury Prize is proud to celebrate the remarkable power of music to inspire and exhilarate. The albums on the 2020 shortlist showcase a great diversity of sounds, styles, ambitions and experience. What these albums share is an irresistible urgency, a belief that their music matters more than ever.”

The winner of the Mercury Prize will be announced on 24 September.

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