Indie band Wolf Alice have picked up the 2018 Mercury Music Prize for their eclectic, enchanting second album, Visions of a Life.
The London four-piece were almost lost for words as they took to the stage to accept the £25,000 prize.
“It means so much to pick this up with my three best friends,” said singer Ellie Rowsell.
The group beat the likes of Noel Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen to lift the trophy.
Visions of a Life was praised by judges as “an exuberant tapestry of swirling pop, grunge and indie guitar rock.”
The band put their appeal more idiosyncratically: “We’re too pop for rock and too rock for pop.”
In fact, their second album built on the promise of their debut My Love Is Cool (which also received a Mercury nomination) cementing their status as future festival headliners with a hypnotic jumble of grunge, dream-pop and shoegaze stoner rock.
The songs coalesce around Rowsell, an enigmatic frontwoman who can switch from a shy ingénue (Don’t Delete The Kisses) to a screaming, vengeful She-Ra (Yuk Foo) without pretence or artifice.
Although the record reached number two last year, it was overlooked in the best album category at the Brits, making the band’s Mercury Prize victory all the more meaningful.
“Now I know what overwhelmed feels like,” said Rowsell after the ceremony.
Earlier, the band’s bassist Theo Ellis said the win was a vindication.
“The first label meeting we ever had, we walked into a room, and the geezer said, ‘You don’t look like a band at all. What are you? What are you supposed to be? All your songs sound different. You don’t look like each other.’
“We never really figured it out, but here we are,” he added.