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Strange & Beautiful

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Album Review

Using the nom de rock Aqualung, singer/songwriter Matt Hales merges material from his two U.K. discs on Strange and Beautiful, his appealing U.S. debut. Vocally reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright and Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Hales' musical approach will likely win converts from fans of the aforementioned. The title track, which gained significant attention after it was used in a U.K Volkswagen commercial, is a compelling piano ballad with enough experimental touches to put it in the company of Coldplay and Keane, but there are equally good offerings like "Brighter Than Sunshine" and "Left Behind." With the former, Hales finds love by surprise ("I didn't believe in destiny") with a Beatles' ballad pace, but it's not all optimism. Devotion turns to devastation on "Falling Out of Love," a jazzy number with a heartfelt delivery. On rare occasion, the material feels sluggish (as with "Tongue-Tied") but by and large, Aqualung's U.S. entry is a breath of fresh air. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Great Album

Aqualung has a very unique, relaxing style. This would be a great album to buy for anyone who likes Coldplay. Buy this album!

Reaching Back... Worth it.

Although this album often drifts back and forth between the nearly pop intro in Strange & Beautiful to waves of electric organ in Good Times Gonna Come, the bottom line is that there is a rare opportunity to experience an album. Listen to your favorites first but take the 50 minutes to listen to them all as the artist intended because there is a journey... and that's something hard to find these days. Especially as sophisticated and complex as you can find here. Not perfect but light-years above the crowd.

Great mellow piano rock!

Anybody who owns Coldplay or Radiohead has to own this album. Matt Hales is beyond amazing. Also, iTunes recommended A. Rex to me after I bought it and I must say they are quite exceptional as well. Check em out!!!


Born: January, 1972 in Southhampton, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Aqualung is the brainchild of British songwriter Matt Hales, who discovered his love of melodic pop music while listening to songs at his parents' Southampton record store. Inspired by the artists he heard, Hales began writing songs on the family piano at the age of four. By the time he turned 16, the young musician had earned a scholarship to Winchester College, where he studied music composition. His classes often focused on classical music, and Hales responded by writing a symphonic piece, "Life...
Full Bio