2119 Young Ave
Memphis, Tennessee 38104

03-08-2006 Aqualung
Brad Postlethwaite

Young Ave Deli
Memphis, TN
Indie Rock

If anyone can claim to have had their career choice in some way
chosen for them, it's Aqualung's Matt Hales; born above his parents
Southampton independent record store, with a piano dominating
the front room, he was writing songs by the age of 4. By 11 he'd
been commissioned to compose his school Song (the melody stolen,
he confesses without a hint of shame, from Howard Jones' ?Humans
Lib? album), by 14 he was co-writing with his brother a clutch
of ?songs about road safety?. Awarded a scholarship
at 16 to study composition in Winchester, by 17 he'd had his first
symphony ?Life Cycle? performed by a 60-piece orchestra,
with Matt himself conducting. No ordinary childhood. No ordinary

The parallel lives of Matt Hales- where classic(al) song writing
ran alongside the more prosaic disciplines of the rock format-
really begins here, with Matt forming his first band with brother
Ben, performing Police covers and selling cassettes at ?2
a throw outside his college gates. A Music degree course followed
at London's City University- with 2 years studying composition
at Guildhall- where Matt developed engineering and production
skills at BBC's Maida Vale Studios. And while on the one hand
his formal, quasi-classical compositions could already be heard
gracing religious gatherings at The Royal Albert Hall, his new
band incarnation Ruth were signing their first record deal and
cutting their first (?over ambitious Supergrass?) album

Despite favourable early signs - Radio 1 support and national
TV appearances - Ruth came to grief, dissolving in a welter of
band infighting. However, just eighteen months later, as new London
outfit The 45's, Matt and the very same cohorts were the objects
of a record company bidding war, signing a deal with Universal
in Summer 2000. This was to be equally short-lived; 2 acclaimed
single releases and tours with Electric Soft Parade and Cooper
Temple Clause led to not much at all, and last Spring a disenchanted
and out-of-pocket Matt opted out, to pursue solo, musical goals.

Inspired by the self-sufficiency of artists like Cornelius, Matt
Hales sidestepped back to his parallel life and began work in
his home studio on what was to become this Autumn's aptly-titled
?Strange And Beautiful? album. And although clients
as diverse as Mitsubishi and the Tate Modern had already employed
Matt's music in the past, it was the discovery by a canny ad exec
of the title-track -that ended up on the massive TV/Cinema campaign
for VW Beetle- that changed Matt Hales' life forever. With record
shops besieged by people desperate to find THAT song, and Radio
1 eager to answer the demand, Aqualung was born.

This album of dark and haunting songs, conceived in Matt's ?classical?
years, is set for a Worldwide album release this autumn. And the
childhood prodigy that was Matt Hales has in turn become Aqualung,
the distillation of all the musical elements that inform his bizarre
and twisting musical tale. Strange and beautiful indeed.

Brad Postlethwaite

More at snaxmemphis.com

Added by PulpFaction on February 13, 2006

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