Wolf Alice bags £25,000 prize money for ‘Visions of a Life’

Published: September 21, 2018 14:38:07 | Updated: September 23, 2018 13:26:39


Reuters photo

Indie band Wolf Alice have picked up the 2018 Mercury Prize for their eclectic, enchanting second album, Visions of a Life.

The London four-piece were almost lost for words as they took to the stage to accept the £25,000 prize.

"It means so much to pick this up with my three best friends," said singer Ellie Rowsell.

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.

But the 31-year-old, who was born to Pakistani and Norwegian parents and raised in Whitburn, South Tyneside, stole the televised prize ceremony with a fierce and passionate performance of the song Out The Way.

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 (which also received a Mercury nomination) cementing their status as future festival headliners with a hypnotic jumble of grunge, dream-pop and shoegaze stoner rock.

The songs coalesce around 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.

The 26-year-old was a Mercury Prize judge in 2016, and said that made her band's victory all the more meaningful.

"You get given almost 300 albums - so I know the intensity and the frustration of making that decision," she said backstage, adding: "Now I know what overwhelmed feels like."

Earlier, the band's bassist Theo Ellis said he felt vindicated after the band faced years of rejection from record companies, reports BBC.

"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 said they would invest their prize money in building a studio to record their third album next year.

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