British indie band Wolf Alice have picked up the prestigious Mercury Prize at last night’s award show for their eclectic second album Visions Of A Life.
The group was lost for words when accepting the award from DJ and Broadcaster Clara Amfo. Visions of a Life was praised by judges as “an exuberant tapestry of swirling pop, grunge and indie guitar rock.”
Accepting the award, the band’s bassist Theo Ellis said that he felt absolved after years of rejection from the music industry.
“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.
The group beat the likes of Noel Gallagher, Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen to lift the trophy.
They also saw off the bookies’ favourite, Nadine Shah, whose third album, Holiday Destination, explores her experiences as a second-generation immigrant, and the UK’s attitudes to refugees.
This year’s Mercury Prize nominations have seen an unprecedented number of established names in the run-up for the prestigious award.
The judges had a difficult task in selecting the grand winner. This year’s nominees included the likes of Arctic Monkeys for Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (4th nomination, 1 win), Everything Everything for A Fever Dream, Everything is Recorded for Everything is Recorded, Florence & The Machine for High As Hope (3rd nomination), Jorja Smith for Lost & Found, King Krule for The Oz, Lily Allen for No Shame, Nadine Shah for Holiday Destination, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds for Who Built The Moon? (2nd nomination while in Oasis) , Novelist for Novelist Guy, Sons of Kemet for Your Queen Is A Reptile and Wolf Alice for Visions Of A Life.
The shortlist was created out of a selection of 200 albums that were narrowed down to 12 after months of debates. The aim of the Mercury Prize is to recognise both established and up-and-coming names in the music industry throughout a wide range of genres.
Last year’s album was awarded to Sampha who dedicated it to his parents. The 28-year-old singer from Morden, South London has previously stated that the album ruminated on his mother’s death from cancer and his fears for his own health. Speaking on the night of the show, the singer said that his dad would be ‘embarrassingly proud’.
This year’s panel of expert judges from the music industry included broadcaster and DJ Clara Amfo, jazz musician Jamie Cullum, singers Lianne La Havas, Marcus Mumford and Ella Eyre, and music critics Will Hodgkinson (The Times) and Harriet Gibsone (deputy editor, The Guardian Guide).
Image Credit: John Marshall