Matt Hales, the man behind the Aqualung name, couldn't have chosen a more appropriate title for his Stateside bow. His sonic mood food skirts the outskirts of ambience but offers enough in the way of form so that nothing comes across as aural wallpaper. Hales couches his tales of starry-eyed love (expressed on the title track) and the woeful, unrequited version of the same emotion (aired on the postmodern torch song "Falling Out of Love") in the same sort of outsider mufti often used by Radiohead's Thom Yorke, whose wounded tenor is an obvious influence here. For the most part, Aqualung is a keyboard-driven vehicle, one that can glide along smoothly, as evidenced by the string-laced "Easier to Lie," or lurch forward in more persnickety fashion. Hales applies the latter method most successfully on the quietly desperate "Breaking My Heart," on which he cleaves oppressive bass lines with frustrated lyrics about losing faith in, well, just about everything. Even in his most dour moments, however, Hales never loses sight of his melodic muse, making him -- along with kindred spirit Tom Chaplin of Keane -- a welcome piano man for the new millennium.