and the mercury prize winner is…

Was it really a surprise? The London gloom-pop foursome-now-trio The xx beat out the likes of Paul Weller, Foals and Wild Beasts to take the honor for the UK’s best album of 2010.

After emerging shrouded in mystery a little more than a year ago, The xx have made a steady climb to stardom — even Colombian booty-shaker Shakira calls them her favorite band.

Their self-titled debut album was recorded in a garage while the band were still in their teens. Now with more than $30,000 in Mercury Prize money, the band intend to build a studio of their own to record what will be a most anticipated follow-up.

The crossover appeal of The xx can be traced to their appreciation of pop and R&B. As their cover of Womack and Womack’s 1988 hit “Teardrops” attests, they respect the art of the pop song with their own valium induced spin:

Teardrops (Womack & Womack Cover) – The xx by oldwaver

Such huge success early could hurt more than it helps — see former Mercury Prize winners Franz Ferdinand and The Klaxons — but The xx strike me as a working class lot that won’t let the accolades go to their head. Cheers, lads.

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