It's Mercury Prize time once more; and with the Frankel of the UK alternative music scene, PJ Harvey's fanciful quicksilver a non-runner this year, a collective (if not purely metaphorical) sigh of relief is emitted by the chasing pack.

That's not to say we're in any way implying there's a system of quasi-impartiality or shadowy politics at work; merely that when certain names are touted - more often than not - their inclusion is met with divided opinion. But that's what it's all about, surely? Opinion. So for the second year (and soon to become a tradition) we present to you The 405 Jupiter Prize 2012: A wholesome list of records we've relished listening to time and time and time again.

If you're of the belief that Alt-J deserve a shout as they fly the flag for 'folk-step', then you'd be a very silly sausage indeed (as it's a ludicrous moniker). But if you feel Alt-J deserve a shout purely on the merit of their excellently crafted debut album, then perhaps we'd be more inclined to agree with you. Whether the bigger budget vigour of Bloc Party's return to form or the homemade whimsy of Lanterns on the Lake, we've considered anything and everything that's graced our ears without prejudice.

So in a year of partisan hysteria, heavy-handed national pride and the Olympics (remember that?), here's our list of the best of British.



Jupiter Prize the 405

Jessie Ware - Devotion

"When it takes elements of the now and melds them with the idea of creating something classic that the album really shines. Luckily, she manages to hit that sweet spot consistently throughout the album. It makes for a debut full of charm, personality and honest-to-goodness great songwriting and a mesmerising voice."

  • Click here to read the full review



  • Jupiter Prize the 405

    Lanterns On The Lake - Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

    "Lanterns On The Lake have created a record so self-assured, so astute at capturing that magical and subjective thing called mood that at times it feels akin to being regaled with stories of love, loss and watery death by a grizzly sea captain, as you sip chicken broth in front of a roaring fire. This is a wizened old owl of a record, designed to comfort even the most shattered of hearts. It's all the more astonishing when you take into consideration this is their debut long-player. As you can tell, I quite like it."

    • Click here to read the full review



    • Jupiter Prize the 405

      Slow Club - Paradise

      "As opposed to the inherently acoustic charm of their debut, Paradise juxtaposes a jarring sense of electronica with the raucous exhibitionism of the dual vocal. Whilst undoubtedly brave, this is a record that takes deliberate steps to debunk the 'twee' myth and establishes Slow Club as a band with so much more than just a couple of nice folk songs. This is one of the records of the year in its depth and nuance, with the longevity to stir emotion long after the final embers have started to fade."

      • Click here to read the full review



      • Jupiter Prize the 405

        Clock Opera - Ways To Forget

        "If there were any subtle doubts about Clock Opera, Ways To Forget certainly disproves these apprehensions. Never the kind of band to invent a new arena of sounds, hog headlines and magazine covers or establish themselves through wobbly foundations; criticisms aside, you can't deny that these guys curate pop bangers that are both exciting, enthusing and enthralling all at the same time whilst pertaining to meaningful values that in a years time can guarantee to be as hooking as ever. And hey, you never know - Connelly just may be our man to bring beards back in again."

        • Click here to read the full review



        • Jupiter Prize the 405

          Alt-J - An Awesome Wave

          "An abundance of Triangles. Art school heritage. Songs with names like 'Fitzpleasure'. You'd be forgiven that Alt-J were one of those fictional bands that troll social networks making satirical remarks about their marketing plans. Yet, pleasingly, the quartet transcend their early hype-wave caused by run-away smash 'Breezeblocks' with An Awesome Wave, a stunning debut that deserves at very least a cursory listen from any music fan; even if you were into them before they were cool."

          • Click here to read the full review



          • Jupiter Prize the 405

            Dry The River – Shallow Bed

            "Being named as one of the fifteen artists 'to watch' on this years BBC Sound of 2012 Shortlist, as well as promising great things after the release of their EP Chambers & The Values in November 2011, does nothing to stall the growing hype and expectation which surrounds Dry The River's debut album, Shallow Bed. In a genre which is becoming increasingly staid and overdone, Dry The River have attempted, and succeed in creating a record which transcends our 'indie-folk' expectations."

            • Click here to read the full review



            • Jupiter Prize the 405

              Field Music – Plumb

              "'Who'll Pay The Bills?' is fabulous wonky pop, and it's followed by the haunted but gorgeous McCartney-esque 'So Long Then'. By the time 'A New Thing' takes off and blasts into orbit you realise this is what pop music should be. Brimming with ideas and never losing that sense of wonderment, Field Music have created an album of warm and inventive songs, always anchored by the idea of 'pop'. It makes for a spellbinding listen."

              • Click here to read the full review



              • Jupiter Prize the 405

                Toy - Toy

                "Toy is easily a contender for the debut album of the year. It's one of those rare albums that make you want to check out the band's influences in much the same way that Primary Colours probably did for Toy."

                • Click here to read the full review



                • Jupiter Prize the 405

                  Islet – Illuminated People

                  "This isn't an album that will catapult Islet into the consciousness of millions, but it won't be easily forgotten by those who let curiosity get the better of them. Having been mentioned on The 405's Ones To Watch List in 2010, it would seem that Illuminated People has been highly anticipated by some and should provide enough interest from inquiring listeners to see them get some much deserved attention. When we inevitably come to reflect on 2012 in 12 months time, Illuminated People should be an album that has turned the heads of the many, rather than the few."

                  • Click here to read the full review



                  • Jupiter Prize the 405

                    Nedry - In a Dim Light

                    "You can listen to In a Dim Light in the grey-dull of Winter or the crisp sun of spring and it seems to fit the mood effortlessly; it envelopes what's around it and alters the environment to its mood. To be able to do that is a powerful skill and Nedry should be proud of it. The production of the LP, which is so clean and so pure that it doesn't feel like it has a tangible environment of its own, sustains that envelopment."

                    • Click here to read the full review



                    • Jupiter Prize the 405

                      The Invisible - Rispah

                      "Three years on from their Mercury-nominated debut, this London trio returns with a more spiritual focus. Named after lead singer Dave Okumu's mother, who passed away midway through the recording of the album, The Invisible adopted a much more harrowing sound for their latest effort. Whereas their self-titled debut was more at the Hot Chip end of the music spectrum, it would seem that this time around, Radiohead was a heavier influence. The album was produced by former UNKLE man Richard File, and although you can hear his touches at times, it is clear the band had a message they wanted to convey and deliberately chose how to do it."

                      • Click here to read the full review



                      • Jupiter Prize the 405

                        JJ DOOM - Key to the Kuffs*

                        "DOOM remains a true original, and the selection of Jnerio Jarel has a sense of 'takes one to know one'. A surprising - if unsurprisingly accomplished - entry into the pantheon of modern, intelligent underground hip-hop."

                        • Click here to read the full review

                        • *DOOM (Daniel Dumile) was born in London




                          Jupiter Prize the 405

                          Holy Other - Held

                          "Call me old fashioned but for me an album should at least hit the 40 minute mark. Maybe I am nit picking because I genuinely didn't want this album to end. From start to finish there isn't a bad moment on this album really and I can easily say so far it is the best thing I have heard in a long time."