Quite a little success story, this. You may remember the story of Aqualung. The man behind the name, Matt Hales, was in an indie guitar act called The 45s, who we featured back on Cornerstone Player .034. That act imploded and he started recording tracks in his bedroom. One of those songs, ìStrange & Beautifulî (as seen on Player DVD .038), was picked up by Volkswagen and used in their UK ad campaign. Cue feeding frenzy and Mr. Hales again being signed. His debut, self-titled record, which featured ìStrange,î was a pretty singer-songwriter affair and much the same can be said about his follow up, Still Life. Some songs primarily just feature Hales and a piano (ìBrighter Than Sunshine,î ìYou Turn Me Aroundî), while some are more actualized, like the bouncy full-band pop of ìLeft Behind.î Regardless of the instrumentation, the songs are melancholic, sweeping pop songs with vocals in the Thom Yorke or Chris Martin stratosphere, songs that are sure to affect your emotions as readily as your ears. Itís raining where you are, you said? Pop on Still Life: youíve just found a perfect companion.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN