Alt-J celebrate Mercury Prize win

Joe Newman, Thom Green, Gus Unger-Hamilton and Gwil Sainsbury of Alt-J after they were announced as winners of the Mercury Prize

Joe Newman, Thom Green, Gus Unger-Hamilton and Gwil Sainsbury of Alt-J after they were announced as winners of the Mercury Prize

First published in National News © by

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 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 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 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, 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."

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 probably 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."

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