The trio’s debut “xx,” with its understated indie rock, layered guitar and songs such as “Basic Space,” was the favorite to win, according to bookmaker William Hill.
“I don’t know what we were expecting but we weren’t expecting this,” front man Oliver Sim said at the ceremony in London’s Grosvenor House hotel. “We’ve had the most incredible year.”
The Mercury Prize has been awarded annually since 1992. It is now sponsored by Barclaycard, which has taken over from the Nationwide Building Society. The award has often been given to new or non-commercial acts and pits different genres against one another, ranging from folk and jazz to hard rock. The winner receives 20,000 pounds ($30,710), although the boost from album sales can be worth much more.