Mercury Music Prize: Alt-J Win For Album An Awesome Wave

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Mercury Winners Alt-J | PA

British rockers Alt-J have won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize for their album 'An Awesome Wave'.

They beat acts including rapper Plan B to win the £20,000 award at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London.

The four-piece had been bookmakers' favourites to take home the annual honour for their debut, which was named Britain's best album of the past year at a ceremony in London on Thursday.

The band triumphed over a shortlist of 11 other albums, which included Plan B's Ill Manors, Richard Hawley's Standing at the Sky's Edge, Michael Kiwanuka (Home Again), Lianne La Havas (Is Your Love Big Enough?), Ben Howard (Every Kingdom) and Sam Lee (Ground Of Its Own).

Indie quartet Alt-J have won the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize for their album An Awesome Wave.

The four boys, who met at Leeds University in 2007, looked stunned as they collected the award - despite being the bookies' favourites.

Singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, who was nominated for his album 'Standing At The Sky's Edge', missed out again - six years after losing to Arctic Monkeys.

Accepting the award on stage, Alt-J - which comprises Thom Green (drums), Joe Newman (guitar/vocals), Gwil Sainsbury (guitarist/bassist) and Gus Unger-Hamilton (keyboards) - said there were too many people to thank.

They said: "We might just thank everyone on team Alt-J who has ever made a difference." They also thanked their parents for "not making us get jobs".

Speaking backstage, Gus said the £20,000 prize money would not change their lives too much. He said: "It won't nearly pay off our student loans." But he admitted to being a fan of his own work, saying: "I like listening to it and I think that is a testament to it, it's the same four guys."

Joe said the band would celebrate in traditional style. He said: "We're going to go and get really pissed, we've just won a Mercury. Christ, I'm going to stay out and carry this as long as I can."

Simon Frith, chair of the judges, said the music had a "hypnotic" quality and was a deserved winner. He added: "One of the things the Mercury has always been about is sounding fresh."

HMV's Gennaro Castaldo said the win would likely result in a "five or sixfold" increase in sales. He said: "Alt-J are one of a handful of nominated artists along with Django Django and Ben Howard who are reaching a tipping point in their careers. Winning the Mercury Prize, and the recognition and huge exposure it brings, is just the catalyst they need to connect with a much wider audience and step up to the next level, like Elbow did a few years back."

Previous winners of the Mercury Prize - established in 1992 to celebrate the best of British and Irish music - include the Arctic Monkeys, Elbow and Franz Ferdinand.

WATCH: AN INTERVIEW WITH ALT-J

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