Dead Letters is the new album from Aqualung – aka songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hales – his first in more than seven years.
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’.
Collaborating with all kinds of artists – including Lianne La Havas, Bat For Lashes, Mika, Tom Chaplin, Jason Mraz, For King & Country and countless others – Hales’ 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.
Hales says, “When I need to work something out I write a song. When I’m overwhelmed by a feeling I write a song. When there’s something I need to say but can’t say it, I write a song. There were things I needed to say and songs I needed to write for myself and once we were home and the piano was there, I started writing them. At some point I realised these songs were all letters, but not necessarily to be sent. Dead letters.”