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Strange & Beautiful


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Red Int / Red Ink
  • ASIN: B0007OP0X6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,260 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Strange & Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You)
2. Falling Out Of Love
3. Good Times Gonna Come
4. Brighter Than Sunshine
5. Breaking My Heart
6. Tongue-tied
7. Left Behind
8. You Turn Me Round
9. If I Fall
10. Easier To Lie
11. Extra Ordinary Thing
12. Another Little Hole

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Aqualung ~ Strange & Beautiful

Amazon.com

Aqualung is Matt Hales, a Brit popster whose ethereal, plangently lovely stateside debut is all knotted up in the sounds of now. Cribbing from Keane, Coldplay, Radiohead, and the Beatles, Hales is a U.K. sensation who staves off staleness by way of his exceptional talent. (Volkswagen dropped the title track into one of its uber-hip European ads in 2002, sparking a who's-the-artist frenzy not seen since the company revived the catalog of Nick Drake.) "When the sun sets around me/my daydreams confound me/and the long night surrounds me," he whimpers compellingly on "You Turn Me Round," a brief ache of a song. Though we feel for him—here's an artist with a gift for getting empathy in a chokehold—we can't help hoping his long, melodic night meanders endlessly. Fans of "The O.C." and Garden State soundtracks should dip in. And don't worry: all Jethro Tull ties end at his handle, meant to evoke the strange and beautiful murkiness of the music. --Tammy La Gorce

Customer Reviews

Buy all of the CD's!!!
Emily Dingee
I love Matt Hale's voice, love the music and lyrics--love Aqaulung!!
HMK
Also, every song here is good.
C. Cross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Joel Caris on March 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Strange and Beautiful is lovely and melodic, overfilled with quiet piano work and brooding vocals, moody stories that seem perfect for a quiet and rainy day or a thoughtful night.

Aqualung is, essentially, Matt Hales. He hails from the U.K. and has made a name for himself there with two albums: a self-titled debut and his follow up, Still Life. For his U.S. debut, songs from both of his U.K. albums have been pulled together to form Strange and Beautiful. The album starts off with the title track, which introduced the U.K. to Aqualung when it was used in a Volkswagen commercial. Hales sings the simple refrain, "I'll put a spell on you / and when I wake you / I'll be the first thing you see / and you'll realize that you love me." It is instantly appealing and one of the most pop-oriented tracks on the album, yet manages to not be forgettable, either. It's a sorrow-tinged love song that introduces the listener to Hales' voice, which comes across throughout the album as contemplative and searching, sad and thoughtful without succumbing to outright depression.

While the album as a whole is strong, there is certainly a differing level of quality amongst the songs. The title track is great but the next two are merely decent songs, never reaching the sort of heights as the first. But the fourth track, "Brighter Than Sunshine," then comes in and picks the record back up. This is a much more positive, upbeat track that, pardon the pun, really shines. The album then moves into a mixture of strong and simply good songs before flowing into an amazing second half.

Interestingly, as "Brighter Than Sunshine" makes clear, even an upbeat song from Aqualung feels mere steps away from tumbling into dark corners of the mind.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By B. Williams on December 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
What an opening! The title track works its magic and indeed does cast a spell over the listener. And who couldn't be pulled in by the enchanting "Brighter Than Sunshine"? Throw in "Good Times Gonna Come" (which definitely gives off a Damien Rice vibe) and "Breaking My Heart" and you've got a superb first half.

The intro to "Left Behind" is an adrenaline rush that carries through the song. The ending of "You Turn Me Round"--the refrain of "I won't let you down"--is a truly cathartic moment. Perhaps the most beautiful track on the album, "If I Fall" envelops you in a peaceful bliss as the title overlaps with "will you catch me/ make it alright/ cause I'm standing, on the edge now/ see your face and/ will you catch me?"

In "Another Little Hole", Hales croons, "The gods have spoken, the spell is broken." Only if you take this gem out of the CD player.
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Format: Audio CD
Aqualung's "Strange And Beautiful" is actually a pretty likable piano-driven pop rock album. Singer Matt Hales has a pretty pleasant voice, even though it kind've sounds produced at times. Every song here is good, though I wouldn't call any of them "great" per se. He definitely knows how to craft a great hook and write some somewhat interesting lyrics (though they're mostly just to make the songs catchier). The musicianship is pretty good and slightly unique, although you'll probably get Coldplay or Ben Folds images in your head when you're listening to this (he sounds a bit like Ben Folds in a couple spots). Also, every song here is good. A lot of people have been panning this album as it's "mainstream", but the fact is is that it's actually pretty good! It's not a classic (this is arguable though - I wouldn't call it one because it seems pretty produced and not entirely original - the singer is also a little annoying in a couple spots), but you'll definitely be satisfied. Highly recommended!

Highlights include:
the entire album!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By UKMusicLOVER on March 24, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD yesterday having not known much about it. I heard Aqualung a year or so ago on a "Best of British Acoustic" album. I hadn't really thought to much about looking into them until yesterday. I saw this CD and listened to it and was blown away at how beautiful the music was. The sticker on the outside said the best band since Coldplay. I agree.In fact they are right up there with Athlete and Feeder who I feel are the closest to as good as Coldplay.

The CD is full of laid back piano rock. The lead singer(which also is pretty much the whole band) also has a great voice. Lyrics are very moving. I just can't seem to get enough of the sad love songs. This CD is what Keane should have done. Don't get me wrong I like Keane, but their lack of guitars makes them get old after a few listens.

Aqualung however is just as strong with piano but there are some nice guitar licks in there. I also love some of the drum beats and little Radiohead-ish atmosphere.

Overall I absoulutely love this CD. If you've read my review on the band "Kaiser Chiefs" then you know I'm not a fan of the new wave Franz Ferdinand throw back 80's scene. I personally love good solid rock like Aqualung. If you love bands like Coldplay and Travis and Keane, then PLEASE check these guys out.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Watts on March 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I bought this cd on a whim, having heard only one track played on the radio. I wasn't disappointed. This a wonderfully mellow compilation. I gave 4 instead of 5 stars simply because for me it is a cd you kind of have to be in the mood for, a sort of rainy day soundtrack.
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