The xx win Mercury Prize

Indie trio The xx landed the Mercury Prize for their debut album 'xx'.

Indie trio The xx landed the Mercury Prize for their debut album 'xx'.

The south London band won the prize ahead of 11 other shortlisted acts at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London last night, and victory saw it follow in the footsteps of acts such as Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys and Elbow.

The group - childhood friends who attended the same south west London school - beat acts such as bookies' favourite Paul Weller and past winner Dizzee Rascal to land the award which will mean a huge boost in sales.

The award is designed to reward the best album of the past 12 months and is worth £20,000 (€24,363).

Frontman Oliver Sim was stunned by the award: "I don't know what we were expecting but we weren't expecting this."

Collecting the prize from award host Jools Holland, he said: "We've had the most incredible year and it's just felt like every day we've woken up to something incredible we weren't expecting."

Head of judges Simon Frith said it was "a record of its time".

He said: "It's a very urban record, it is part of that urban soundscape when no-one has any idea what is going to happen next."

The group went to the Elliott School which has a knack for turning out Mercury nominees. They included Hot Chip and Burial in recent years, as well as a member of Basquiat Strings.

But speaking on the red carpet before the awards, Sim played down the effect of the school.

He said: "I don't want to give them too much credit because technically they just neglected us.

"There was so much time to do our own thing and they gave us a room to hang out in during breaktime and gave us time to figure thing out for ourselves, which worked quite well for us because I always find it hard being taught something creative.

"I only got introduced to Hot Chip and Burial when I left. The school's claim to fame was Pierce Brosnan."

Asked what he would spend the prize money on, a clearly stunned Sim said: "Haven't a clue."

But bandmate Romy Croft suggested a new studio could be on the cards.

She said: "We made this album in a converted garage the size of a bathroom."

DJ Jo Whiley said they were worthy winners, adding: "To say they were the obvious choice would be unfair. They were the one band everyone has been talking about."

Among the celebrities in the crowd were American blues singer Seasick Steve, Sophie Ellis Bextor and comedian and actor Mathew Horne.

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