Mon. May 20th, 2024

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Album Review: Aqualung – 10 Futures

3 min read

Matt Hales, better known professionally as Aqualung, hails from England and is an established songwriter/producer and musician; he’s been around for over a decade now, and possibly his most memorable works to date would be his Top 10 hit Strange & Beautiful released in 2002, or his hit in the US Brighter Than Sunshine. Although he hasn’t tasted similar success with his album releases following his self-titled debut, the man behind the music is still going strong with the release of his new album, 10 Futures.

Aqualung - 10 FuturesRnB singer Joel Compass features on the first track, Tape 2 Tape, which takes on the characteristic of a cement track as the sound of changing tapes assists in carrying the percussive beat, the vocals set a unique atmosphere to the obscure arrangement. A choir of voices and a scratchy vibe best describes the catchy Eggshells, featuring English folk/soul singer Lianne La Havas, the chorus is just as repetitive as the previous track, so in that sense it fails to differentiate from that structure. Luke Sital-Singh breathes out the melody of Be Beautiful, the strings really make the arrangement and the chorus of this track is much more memorable and less tedious, the focus on instrumentation is refreshing with this number; the piano drives the introduction to Seventeens to perfection, the rough and earthy atmosphere that emerges as the song progresses provides depth and ambience.

New Low has more of an indie rock/pop sound going for it, it’s definitely a more upbeat addition to the album that was much needed; Sweet Billy Pilgrim contributes some smooth and beautiful vocal work to the track Clean, but the track doesn’t manage to grab hold of your attention for its entirety. Scottish synth pop group Prides collaborate with Aqualung for the edgy Hearts, it’s an improvement from its predecessor, but still in moments it leaves you tired; up and coming Australian singer Josef Salvat lends his immense vocal range to Shame On Me, the catchiest song on this record in a while, his technique is what makes this track enticing. Everything could have been more, as experimental as this album has been, this track falls under the ‘bland’ category; To The Wonder has the album’s only chance to leave a decent last impression, it’s not that bad a track really and Kina Grannis’ vocals add a sweet touch.

Without a doubt, Aqualung has a given talent with his production abilities and his knack for creating something experimental and out of the box; but at times with 10 Futures, boredom veered its ugly head from the abyss and out of your speakers to dampen what could have been a purely enjoyable listen. Don’t let that sentence put you off listening to the album completely, with music such as Aqualung’s you take what you take from it, different listeners will have a unique listening experiences only they themselves can have. Commercially though, it may not fare well, despite its small handful of stand out tracks.