Aqualung: 10 Futures

Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 16:00


10 Futures


BMG Chrysalis


Matt Hales upped sticks and moved to California after his fifth album in 2010, vowing never to make another Aqualung record. Having spent the last few years co-writing with/for other artists, it seems his lust has returned.

Hales’s sound has certainly evolved since 2002’s Strange & Beautiful; here, you’ll find everything from minimalist synthpop (Hearts) to danceable indie (New Low) and concise chamber-pop (Be Beautiful). A host of guest vocalists from Lianne La Havas to Josef Salvat fill out his tender compositions, with highlights including the hymnal folk rasp of Sweet Billy Pilgrim on Clean and the soulful inflections of Joel Compass on the brilliant Tape 2 Tape.

Piano-based fragility abounds and certain songs meander pointlessly before fading into the background, but it’s really lovely stuff.