Singer-songwriter Florence and the Machine has been handed the prestigious Critics' Choice prize for the 2009 Brit Awards.

The quirky act - headed by Florence Welch - deflected competition from Little Boots and White Lies to claim the award, which launched the career of Adele last year.

In a statement, Welch said: "Blimey, a Brit Award. Thank you so much to the critics."

She continued: "I'm making my album at the moment, it's sort of sounding like a choir, a harp, some metal chains and a piano all put through a car crusher, then hit with wooden planks really hard. I will see you at the awards.

"I'll be the one trying to get off with Katy Perry and passed out next to Leona Lewis."

The Kiss With A Fist band were last week named on the BBC's Sound of 2009 longlist, which predicts the musicians likely to break through in the next 12 months.

Florence and the Machine are set to hit the road in January for the Shockwaves NME awards tour, alongside Glasvegas, Friendly Fires and White Lies.

12/12/2008 12:06:47