The four-member band from north London, which first began as a duo in 2010, took the 25,000 pound prize and “album of the year” trophy, which has been awarded to a wide range of music artists since it began in 1992.
“Visions of a Life”, the group’s second studio album, won praise from critics when it was released last year and reached no. 2 in the UK album charts.
“This has never really happened to us … we’ve been nominated before but we’ve never won,” band member Joel Amey told Reuters. “It’s hard to gage how these things really go in your favour but so far the Mercury (nomination) has done wonders for us getting to new people.”
The Mercury Prize, which is less mainstream than Britain’s annual BRIT Awards, honours music by British and Irish acts and organisers said this year’s shortlist celebrated musicians “at all stages of their careers”.
It also included albums by bands Florence + The Machine and Everything Everything, singers Lily Allen, Nadine Shah, Jorga Smith and King Krule, MC Novelist, jazz group Sons of Kemet and the collaborative “Everything is Recorded”, spearheaded by XL Recordings founder Richard Russell.
Past winners of the prize include grime artist Skepta and musicians PJ Harvey and Benjamin Clementine.