LONDON — Indie pop quartet Alt-J has won Britain's prestigious Mercury Prize, beating more established acts to the 20,000 pound (roughly $32,000) prize at the Roundhouse in north London.

Formed of four Leeds University students who met in 2007, the band's sharp but spare vocals, genre-bending sound and occasionally bizarre, nasal lyrics propelled them onto the charts well before its members found fame.

Critical reception to their debut album, "An Awesome Wave," was extremely favorable and the band was heavily tipped to beat artists including rapper Plan B and singer-songwriter Richard Hawley, who were also among the prize's 12 finalists.

Music journalists have praised the group's idiosyncratic song-building skills (and few failed to dwell on their bizarre name – it's the command needed to get a triangle shape on a Mac).

Jenny Stevens of NME praised their "bookish sensibility and penchant for a sexual metaphor," while the Guardian's Paul Lester said their music was "rich and quirky enough to match the imagistic literacy of the lyrics."

The Mercury Prize was established in 1992 to honor the best album of the year by a British or Irish band and often favors the eclectic and obscure over better-known acts.

Loading Slideshow...
  • alt-J (∆) Breezeblocks

    Directed by Ellis Bahl. Get debut album 'An Awesome Wave' here: (digital) (physical). Out in the US via Canvasback Music on September 18

  • alt-J (∆) Fitzpleasure

    Get debut album 'An Awesome Wave' here: (digital) (physical). Out in the US via Canvasback Music on September 18

  • Alt-J - Something Good

    Taken from the Mercury Prize nominated debut album 'An Awesome Wave'. Purchase online here

  • Alt-J - "Tessellate" (Official Video)

    Directed by Alex Southam, "Tessellate" is a twist on Italian Renaissance painter Raphael's 'The School of Athens', set in a modern day gangster's paradise. The incredible 'Tessellate' will be released on 16 July 2012 through Infectious Music. The track is lifted from their stunning debut album 'An Awesome Wave.' Get debut album 'An Awesome Wave' here: (digital) (physical). Official Website: Facebook: Twitter: ** Subscribe to Noisey on YouTube to stay updated on our daily releases: Videos, daily editorial and more: Like Noisey on Facebook Follow Noisey on Twitter: Read our tumblr:

  • Alt-J (∆) - Taro

    From the album "An Awesome Wave." Footage is from the beautiful 1988 film "Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation." Lyrics Indochina, Capa jumps Jeep, two feet creep up the road To photo, to record meat lumps and war, They advance as does his chance -- very yellow white flash. A violent wrench grips mass, rips light, tears limbs like rags, Burst so high finally Capa lands, Mine is a watery pit. Painless with immense distance From medic from colleague, friend, enemy, foe, him five yards from his leg, From you Taro. Do not spray into eyes -- I have sprayed you into my eyes. 3:10 pm, Capa pends death, quivers, last rattles, last chokes All colours and cares glaze to grey, shrivelled and stricken to dots, Left hand grasps what the body grasps not -- le photographe est mort. 3.1415, alive no longer my amour, faded for home May of '54 Doors open like arms my love, Painless with a great closeness To Capa, to Capa Capa dark after nothing, re-united with his leg and with you, Taro. Do not spray into eyes -- I have sprayed you into my eyes. Hey Taro! For more Alt-J: edited by:

  • Alt-J - Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

    Alt-J performs live on KEXP at the Triple Door as part of KEXP's VIP Club Concert series. Recorded September 27, 2012. Songs: Intro Interlude I / Tessellate Something Good Dissolve Me Fitzpleasure Matilda Breezeblocks Bloodflood Hand-Made Taro Host: Cheryl Waters Audio Engineer: Jake McLaughlin Cameras: Jim Beckmann, Shelly Corbett, Luke Knecht and Scott Holpainen Editing: Jim Beckmann thumbnail image by Dave Lichterman http

  • Alt-J (∆) - Matilda

    Click here to buy on iTunes: Out in the US via Canvasback Music on September 18 Get debut album 'An Awesome Wave' here: (digital) (physical).

  • Alt-J - Slow (Kylie Minogue cover) @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney 18/10/12 [HD]

    Alt-J cover the Kylie Minogue song 'Slow' @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney 18/10/12 [HD]

  • Alt-J (∆) "Bloodflood" http

  • Alt-J - Dissolve Me

    We have been distracted into unnatural motivations: money, prestige, power. Listening to the bird is not going to give you money. Listening to the bird is not going to give you power and prestige. Watching the butterfly is not going to help you economically, politically or socially. These things are not paying, but these things make you happy in ways that can not be explained.

  • Alt-J - Something Good (The Amazing Sessions) Alt-J perform 'Something Good' live exclusively for The Amazing Sessions on Amazing Radio Subscribe for a live session every Wednesday! AmazingRadio YouTube Channel: Facebook: Twitter:

  • Alt-J, Ripe & Ruin

    In a short time, Alt-J, four lads from Leeds, have become known for their layered, folk-influenced dub music called folk-step. In an Upper East Side button shop in New York City, Joe Newman and Gus Unger-Hamilton perform "Ripe & Ruin," an a cappella interlude from their debut album, 'An Awesome Wave,' which, according to BBC Music "spans every workable idea, genre and influence that can be crammed under the guitar-music umbrella, yet it never feels disorientating." Want more Alt-J? Watch their interview: For more videos like this, subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live: The Bowery Presents Live features groundbreaking must-see live music and the latest in emerging music culture. The Bowery Presents Live streams live shows and features intimate performances from industry leaders and the next big things in music. A Show Cobra Production