Indie quartet Alt-J have won the prestigious Barclaycard Mercury Prize for their album 'An Awesome Wave'.
The band members, which met at Leeds University in 2007, looked stunned as they collected the award – despite long being the bookies’ favourites.
After five years of hard work, the band beat acts such as rapper Plan B to win the £20,000 (€24,913) award at the Roundhouse in Camden, north London.
Singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, who was nominated for his album 'Standing At The Sky’s Edge', narrowly missed out again – six years after claiming he was controversially “robbed”.
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, Unger-Hamilton 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.”
Newman said the band would celebrate in traditional style.
He said: “We’re going to go and get really p****d, 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.”