Aqualung follow their successful debut eponymous album with a sublime new record titled Still Life. The music here is as melodically mellow as ever and the lyrical content a similar mixture of odes and epitaphs to love.
"Brighter Than Sunshine", the current single, starts the ten track feast for your ears. Your winter blues will be banished as you bask in this triumphantly uplifting anthem.
Although Still Life never quite reaches such dizzy heights again, the remaining songs are still better than your average album fodder. Another high is reached with "7 Keys" as its trombone bass-line swoop in and out of the track.
A wide range of instrumentation is employed ranging from the regular strings to the more exotic harpsichord and the downright bizarre 'frog' and 'bowls'. However this wide assortment is blended together so seamlessly you'll hardly notice they're all there.
It would be no surprise to find Coldplay, Radiohead and U2 amongst singer Matt Hale's music collection. His voice is often reminiscent of Thom Yorke's and the general Aqualung mood is very similar to that of the Oxford quartet. On the other hand the intro to "Listen Again" is a dead ringer to the start of Coldplay's "Politik", whereas tracks such as "Take Me Home" put me more in mind of U2's more introspective moments.
By the end of the album the down-beat tempo can become rather dirgeful but if you're rejoicing in the fact that cannabis has been downgraded you'll probably appreciate Still Life all the more.
Aqualung became successful after "Strange And Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You)" was used in a car advert. It wouldn't be a surprise or a shame if we found any more of their tracks appearing in such commercial breaks. Whatever it takes to spread the word and spread some aural happiness! --Niky Daley
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AQUALUNG Still Life (2003 UK 10-track CD album including the singles Brighter Than Sunshine & Easier To Lie)