The group itself was ambivalent about the importance of the award and the 20,000 pounds ($32,270) that comes with it.
“It’s just an award show, it’s just an award, you know,” singer Alloysius Massaquoi said after getting the prize as a ceremony in London on Wednesday night.
But Alex Petridis, pop music critic for The Guardian newspaper, said the choice showed the Mercury Prize was doing its job by showcasing new music.
“If the Mercury prize has a worthwhile purpose, it’s to shine a light on music that a wider audience might well like if they heard it, and “Dead” fits the bill perfectly … the work of misfits, as all the greatest music tends to be,” he wrote in a blog post.
Some industry figures had complained about the particularly obscure line-up for this year’s award, meant to identify the best of the year from British or Irish artists and based on a selection by music industry experts and musicians.