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 appeared to be lost for words as they took to the stage to accept the £25,000 prize.
“Noel Gallagher’s sat there looking at me,” said bassist Theo Ellis. “What am I supposed to say?”
The group beat the likes of Noel Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen to lift the trophy.
The band were previously nominated for the 2015 prize for their debut, My Love Is Cool.
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 cementing their status as future festival headliners with a hypnotic jumble of grunge, dream-pop and shoegaze stoner rock.
The music coalesces around Ellie 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.
Accepting the award on stage at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, the 26-year-old said it “means so much to pick this up with my three best friends”.
“Oh, I’m really nervous,” she added, before Ellis stepped in to tell a story about the band’s origins.
“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.