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Mercury Prize 2018: Wolf Alice win for Visions of a Life

Wolf Alice, Visions of a Life

Story by Jack Foley

LONDON four-piece Wolf Alice have won the 2018 Hyundai Mercury prize for their second album, Visions of a Life.

Released in 2017, the album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, selling 19,333 copies in its first week. It includes the tracks Heavenward, Yuk Foo, Don’t Delete The Kisses and Space & Time.

Upon being named as winners, frontperson Ellie Rowsell said: “This means so much to pick this up with my three best friends.”

Bass player Theo Ellis then went on to recall how certain industry executives had initially cast doubt on them in the early days.

“‘You lot don’t look like a band at all’,” he remembered them saying. “We never really figured it out but here we are… Big up everyone who was nominated. This means the world.”

Ironically, this was Wolf Alice’s second Mercury Prize nomination. Their debut album, My Love Is Cool, was shortlisted in 2015 but lost to Benjamin Clementine.

And heading into the ceremony, it had been Nadine Shah as the bookmakers’ favourite to win for her third album, Holiday Destination – although the Mercury Prize has a history of defying the bookmakers.

They also beat Arctic Monkeys, winners in 2006 for their debut, who were nominated for a fourth time for their sixth album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.

Wolf Alice were presented with the £25,000 prize at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, and said they were going to spend the next few hours celebrating and deciding what to do with the money.

Wolf Alice are the first female-fronted act to win the award since 2011, when PJ Harvey won for a second time with her eighth album, Let England Shake.

Formed in 2010, the band was initially a duo comprised of Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie. Drummer Joel Amey and bassist Theo Ellis joined the band in 2012. They then signed to the independent British label Dirty Hit, also home to the 1975.

The full list of this year’s nominees was…

Lily Allen, No Shame
Arctic Monkeys, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Everything Everything, A Fever Dream
Everything Is Recorded, Everything Is Recorded
Florence + the Machine, High as Hope
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Who Built the Moon?
King Krule, The Ooz
Novelist, Novelist Guy
Nadine Shah, Holiday Destination
Jorja Smith, Lost and Found
Sons of Kemet, Your Queen is a Reptile
Wolf Alice, Visions of a Life