LONDON (Reuters) - Electronic band the xx have been named the winners of Britain’s 2010 Mercury Prize for their debut album, “The xx.”
The band, which consists of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, recorded their album in a small garage part of record label XL’s studios.
Their critically acclaimed album, a sleepy but intoxicating mix of electronic beats and understated vocals, was ranked number two on NME magazine’s Best of the Year list, and reached number 10 in the UK charts.
“We’ve had the most incredible year,” xx frontman Sim said. “It feels like every day we wake up to something incredible. It hasn’t sunken in to be honest.”
They beat 11 other nominees including rapper Dizzee Rascal with his platinum album, “Tongue N’Cheek,” veteran musician Paul Weller’s 10th solo album, “Wake up the Nation,” and Corrine Bailey Rae’s “The Sea.”
The award, which honors the best album released in the past 12 months, comes with a 20,000 pound ($30,740) prize and is likely to boost the band’s record sales.
One of the judges, Simon Frith, who has chaired the Mercury Prize panel since it began in 1992, said the winning album captures something of the slightly anxious mood of the country.
“They have that urban soundscape where they are not exactly secure,” Frith said. “That late night feeling where you like the city, and it’s exhilarating, but you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Sim said the band’s next move would be a U.S. tour and then some domestic changes.
“We have our last tour coming up around the states, then we’re coming home and moving out and getting our own homes.”
There was talk at the awards of a win by Mumford & Sons with their album “Sigh No More.”
This would have been in keeping with the Mercury’s inclination to give the prestigious award to little known nominees. In the end, however, the xx, who have been sweeping the festival scene this summer, received the accolade.
“We made this album in a converted garage the size of a bathroom,” Croft said. “So we would love to make our own studio and experiment and let Jamie (Smith) produce.”
Weller, former singer for mod-band The Jam, had ousted newcomers The xx as the favorite to win the Prize earlier this week. Over the weekend bookmaker William Hill decided to slash its odds of Weller winning from 20/1 to 1/10 due to an unprecedented flurry of betting activity.
Weller has not been nominated for the Mercury since 1994, when his album “Wild Wood” was shortlisted, but failed to take the award.
Last year’s winner was hip-hop star Speech Debelle with her debut release “Speech Therapy.” Other former winners include Dizzee Rascal, the Klaxons, and Badly Drawn Boy.
The Mercury Prize, Awards which are open to any UK or Irish artist who has released an album during the past year, were presented by radio DJ Lauren Laverne and hosted by musician and television presenter Jools Holland.
Editing by Paul Casciato