The Klaxons have won the Nationwide Mercury Prize, the annual occasion, which celebrates the best albums of the year recorded by British and Irish artists. The act's debut set "Myths of the Near Future" (Rinse/Polydor) was named the winner at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London.

The "nu rave" band's members were clearly exhausted after their victory, with member James Righton admitting later that he shed some tears on the podium. When asked how it felt beating out Amy Winehouse, Jamie Reynolds later told the press, "Her record is a retro record, ours is the most forward thinking record of the year. We are moving forward."

The event, broadcast on BBC Four, BBC Two and the Corporation's Radio 1, featured live performances from 11 of the 12 shortlisted acts.

Last year's winners Arctic Monkeys and Amy Winehouse were installed by William Hill bookmakers as early joint favorites to take the prize, with odds of 4/1 when the shortlist was announced July 17.

However, in the days leading up to the ceremony, Bat For Lashes' "Fur and Gold" (Echo/EMI) jostled into position as bookies' favorite' while Winehouse -- whose recent descent into drug and alcohol problems have been widely document -- saw her odds slip.

With the exception of Arctic Monkeys, who are currently on tour Stateside, each of the nominees performed at the ceremony.

The Mercury panel of judges whittled down the nominees from a long-list of more than 230 contenders, entered by their respective record companies.

The award was established as the Mercury Music Prize in 1992 by labels body the BPI and its counterpart retail association ERA (then known as BARD). The Nationwide Building Society took over as sponsor from Japanese-owned consumere electronics firm Panasonic in 2004.

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