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News: Aqualung Announces 6 Rare Shows This November

3 min read
News: Aqualung Announces 6 Rare Shows This November

After releasing his critically acclaimed album ‘Dead Letters’ late last year, Aqualung – the producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hales – announces details of six rare UK headline shows. Tickets for the shows, listed below, go on sale HERE from 10am this Friday, June 16th.

11th – Manchester, Deaf Institute
12th – Glasgow, Oran Mor
13th – Newcastle, Cluny
20th – Brighton, Old Market
21st – London, Islington Assembly Hall
23rd – Bristol, Trinity – Fyfe Hall

In the time between the previous Aqualung album, 2015’s ‘10 Futures’, and the release of ‘Dead Letters’, Hales’ reputation as a songwriter and producer flourished. Collaborating with all kinds of artists – including Lianne La Havas, Bat For Lashes, Mika, Tom Chaplin, Jason Mraz, For King & Country and countless others – his hectic yet immensely rewarding schedule resulted in huge acclaim, including both an Ivor Novello and a Grammy. No wonder, then, that aside from occasionally briefly resurfacing, Aqualung remained in hibernation.

Having spent much of the past decade living in Los Angeles, Hales and his family returned to England. They were soon joined by the wonky, upright piano that he has owned for more than thirty years. Disorientated by the odd feeling of being unmoored despite back home, Hales gravitated to channelling those emotions – and a whole lot more – into writing songs at his favourite old piano.

As those songs evolved into a catalogue of material, Hales reunited with some of the team behind the second Aqualung album, ‘Still Life’, for sessions at Real World near Bath, where that album was recorded. Those demos were finessed over the course of two years with some of his trusted collaborators: his brother Ben Hales, his wife Kim Oliver, and Matt Vincent-Brown, his bandmate in his pre-Aqualung projects The 45s and Ruth.

A dead letter is one that is undeliverable and unreturned by the post office. A message that sits in purgatory. A dead letter drop is a place where messages and other material can be left and collected in secret, without the sender and the recipient meeting. All of which feels like the perfect metaphor for the songs that Hales had written.

Aqualung first came to attention in 2002 when the debut single ‘Strange & Beautiful (I’ll Put A Spell On You)’ became a surprise UK Top 10 after being discovered via a Volkswagen Beetle advert. While that song created a magnetic allure, the strength and versatility of Hales’ songwriting further enamoured audiences. The debut self-titled Aqualung album reached Gold status in recognition of over 100,000 domestic sales, while the brighter symphonic scope of his second album, ‘Still Life’, led to another chart hit with ‘Brighter Than Sunshine’. By the time Aqualung’s third album, ‘Memory Man’ emerged, glowing comparisons had been made with everyone from Bacharach to Radiohead via The Beach Boys, while his music has featured in ‘Twilight’, ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

The ‘Aqualung’ and ‘Still Life’ albums recently received their first vinyl releases, both of which were boosted with an additional disc of rare live material. Those albums as well as ‘Dead Letters’ are available from the official Aqualung store.