The results of the 1998 Mercury Music Prize album of the year...

Gomez beat heavy competition from Pulp's 'This Is Hardcore', THE VERVE's 'Urban Hymns', ROBBIE WILLIAMS' 'Life Through A Lens', MASSIVE ATTACK's 'Mezzanine' and CATATONIA's 'International Velvet' to win the 1998 Mercury Music Prize for best album last night (September 16).

The five piece from Southport, who were signed by Hut only a year ago, scooped the '25,000 prize for their debut album 'Bring It On', which they recorded on a four-track demo machine.

Gomez were the bookmakers' favourites at 2:1; betting closed early because their win seemed to be a foregone conclusion. On Monday and Tuesday, before the announcement, local radio stations were ringing NME for quotes on the band who are still comparatively unknown to the mainstream public.

The eight-member judging panel comprises music journalists and people working "at the creative end of the music industry", according to a spokeswoman for the Mercury Prize, as opposed to the record company people who judge the Brit Awards. Gomez guitarist Ian Ball said: "It's pretty ridiculous that this album was recorded in my dad's garage and we had people like the police saying 'Keep the noise down'!"

The band celebrated their victory by spraying champagne around the stage at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, where the event was held. Other bands nominated for the award for the best album released in a twelve-month period between July 1997 and 1998, also included 4-HERO's 'Two Pages', ELIZA CARTHY's 'Red Rice', CORNERSHOP's 'When I Was Born For The 7th Time', JOHN SURMAN's 'Proverbs And Songs', ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION's 'Rafi's Revenge' and 'Decksandrumsandrockandroll' by PROPELLERHEADS.

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