LOS ANGELES-Wolf Alice admit they were left feeling ''guilty'' following a backlash after they won the Mercury Prize.

Wolf Alice felt ''guilty'' about winning the Mercury Prize.The 'Beautifully Unconventional' hitmakers - comprised of Ellie Rowsell, Joff Oddie, Joel Amey and Theo Ellis - were awarded the prestigious accolade for their second LP, 'Visions of a Life', in September and though they were ''proud'' to be recognised, they were quickly ''deflated'' following a backlash that accused the panel of making a ''safe'' choice. Ellie said: ''It's hard. Because winning was great -- we celebrated. I felt proud. Then you read all these things and you deflate. I felt guilty. 'I'm sorry I won this, please give it to someone else.' And I don't want to do that.'' And the quartet don't understand why they were seen as the ''safe'' choice and think they were actually chosen because they represented a middle ground that wasn't too mainstream to be obvious or so leftfield that the vote would alienate the public. Joff recalled in an interview with the Sunday Times Culture magazine: ''People were angry. They thought we were the safe option.''

Ellie - who was on the 2016 judging panel - added: ''But the safe option is always the left-field choice, because nobody can be angry. They go, 'Oh, it's nice to give them a boost!' ''

But Joff mused: ''I don't know. The award was in a position of losing public interest had they done that again.'' Ellie admitted: ''We were the middle thing. So, basically, we didn't win because we were good. But critics were more annoyed with the prize than with us.

Wolf Alice - whose debut album 'My Love is Cool' was nominated for the 2015 Mercury Prize - beat off the likes of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen, and Jorja Smith to be crowned the winners of the iconic award.