Though many records often need a few spins to really sink in, not every record's outcome is worth the time and energy expended to digest its contents. Lucky for Aqualung fans, such is not the case with Memory Man, the follow-up to 2005's acclaimed U.S. debut Strange and Beautiful. This album is worth the time. At first glance, it's basically more of the same elegantly crafted and poignant rock tunage built around gentle piano strokes and Matt Hales' breathy Thom Yorke-ish croon, which is able to convey as much emotion as anything else he does. But Hales, the brains and creative force behind the London-based project, takes significant strides this time around to incorporate new elements into his arrangements, and one glance through just his personal credits (not even considering those of his various collaborators) uncovers a laundry list of instruments and electronic gadgets used. Yet somehow, even these extra additions -- which indeed make for a fuller sounding record -- can't divert the unassuming Aqualung from being exceptionally serene and grounded, at times practically evoking images of floating motionless underwater. Even at his most ambitious, Hales is still pretty straightforward and unable to escape the simple appeal of warm, uncluttered and accessible melodies. Listeners are constantly drawn into the quieter moments of brushed percussion and gentle notes, and re-energized at the sporadic swells of emotion. The swirling and hypnotic buildup of tracks like "Something to Believe In" and the redemptive "Outside" are enough to make Chris Martin blush, while the restrained tension of "Glimmer," especially with the faint horn echoing oh-so-softly in the background, results in a song of understated strength. Paul Buchanan (of Scottish dream pop outfit the Blue Nile) additionally lends transfixing guest vocals to the already beautiful ballad "Garden of Love." So while Aqualung may not be doing anything on Memory Man that is wholly different than all of the Coldplays and Rufus Wainwrights of the world, there is a certain down-to-earth charm inherent in Hales that his peers often lack. This small detail makes Aqualung's music even more appealing and Memory Man an even more rewarding listen.
Performance CreditsAqualung Primary Artist
Paul Buchanan Vocals
David Price Fiddle,Glockenspiel,Vibes,Shaker,Log Drums
Oren Marshall Tuba
Titch Walker Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Matt Hales Glockenspiel,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,Vocals,Voices,Noise,Vocoder,fender rhodes,Siren,Moog Bass,Prepared Piano,Group Member
Ben Hales Acoustic Guitar,Electric Bass,Vocals,Noise
Sarah Field Cornet
Technical CreditsPaul Buchanan Story
Eric Valentine Producer,Audio Production
David Bett Art Direction
Phil Nelson Management
Dan Swift Producer,Audio Production
Kimberly Oliver Composer
Matt Hales Composer,Director,Programming,Producer,Audio Production,Feedback
Ben Hales Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Memory Man based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Just what you'd expect from someone who has been writing music since he was in diapers. Matt Hales a.k.a "Aqualung" never skips a beat in his music, he just can't do any wrong when it comes to his music. "Memory Man" is a melodic symphonizing album with a little bit of a punch, an overall "wow" factor that will continue to shock and amaze you as it takes you through some of the most breathe taking soundscapes. Overall I'm very pleased with this album. Aqualung's previous release was in the genre of "Mellow Rock and Alternative Rock" and his new release "Memory Man" is in the genre of "Alternative Rock and Pop" , a wonderful change. I would certainly recommend purchasing this album. Some personal favorites that you may find enjoyable are : "Cinderella" , " Something To Believe In", "Rolls So Deep".......excellent, excellent songs. They are timeless musical pieces in my book!!
An excellent album that suits any mood! What can be better than that?
Aqualung's second album released in America is another bona-fide hit. This CD is a bit more loud-sounding than the previous release, but is still pleasing to the ear. Hale's vocals combined with the stirring instrumental arrangements produce a sound that is unique and powerful at the same time. There is not a single track on this CD that I did not like, which is more than can be said for some other CDs I own. A great listen.