MAYBE the bookies don’t always know it all.

Before the Mercury Music Prize shortlist was announced, Manchester art rockers Everything Everything was hotly tipped not jut to be nominated, but to win the whole thing.

After all, their third album Get To Heaven had received glowing reviews across the board.

Cue the actual list, and the foursome not even making the nominees.

“We were totally gutted, frankly,” admits their singer Jonathan Higgs with refreshing honesty.

“We thought we’d get a nomination - the bookies had us down to win, and although we don’t usually get our hopes up we couldn’t help but do that this time.

"It’s a pretty good list, but I’ve tried to avoid it all as it was depressing me that we weren’t there.

“I do like Slaves though, they’re just out there to have fun and be anarchic so I’d give them my vote.”

Fun maybe isn’t a word that springs to mind for Get To Heaven.

It’s a record with lyrics about terrorism, mass shootings in America and global media, inspired by Jonathan watching plenty of 24/7 news while writing.

Those words are matched to fast and fiery melodies, contrasting their euphoria with the sombre themes.

“We got to the end of touring the second album (2013’s Arc) and found some of our shows were a bit too quiet and with too many sad songs,” says Jonathan, who’ll be at the O2 ABC on Thursday.

“We wanted to come back with something full of life and aggression, with no quiet moments.

"That’s transferred over to the live shows …

“We knew we didn’t want to make a mopey record, so the melodies had to be upbeat.”

That seems to be translating well to live gigs, letting the band’s more raucous side come out.

Formed back in 2007, they’ve always been a band tricky to categorise, with Jonathan’s distinctive falsetto layered on top of clever pop, bursts of electronica and complex rock.

Early next year they’ll be back out on the road with Foals, another clever guitar group who have made the step up to playing arenas and will play the SSE Hydro on February 12.

Jonathan feels the ascent of Yannis Philippakis and company shows the often repeated claim that guitar music is struggling is nonsense.

“There’s arguably more guitars in the charts than ever before,” adds the singer.

“Just because we don’t play big open chords people think we aren’t a guitar band, but what are Foals if not a guitar band? It’s very strange.”

One new guitar group the band have given a hand to are White, the Glasgow act who’ll support them tomorrow, with Everything Everything recently remixing the local fivesome’s terrifically catchy Blush single.

The Manchester group have always been good at helping emerging bands out, but Jonathan is increasingly concerned at how only well-off acts now have the cash resources to actually stay the course.

“Most of the bands doing well now are really privileged,” he explains.

“It’s really dreadful when they’re creating all your culture.

"You get a certain type of person who’s allowed to be successful by the system, and you end with a voice that’s far too loud and boring, and unnecessary to hear over and over again.

“I include myself in that - I think there’s more interesting voices out there than middle class boys singing about how sad they are all the time.”

Jonathan has had quite serious troubles, though.

He’s openly discussed having depression in the past and hopes that the more people in pop culture speak out about the condition, the more it can help others.

“There’s a disconnect in that you can get more attention for a broken finger than a broken brain and it’s becoming obvious to everyone that it needs action,” he says.

“The more we talk about it the more we can reduce the stigma and I think just a constant turnover of people saying ‘me too, me too’ can help put it in perspective.”

Something that helps the singer is the exhilaration that comes with live gigs, and of getting an audience reaction.

“The ultimate reward of being in a band is hearing the crowd singing something back to you, especially if it’s a lyric that means a lot to you or it comes from a deep place,” he says.

“Even if it’s a very dark theme then having one person in front of you basically saying ‘I understand you’ can be incredibly rewarding.”

Everything Everything, O2 ABC, Thursday, £17.50, 7pm