Strange And Beautiful, Eagerly-Anticipated Aqualung Album, Ready for Stateside Release

Critically-Acclaimed UK Artist's First American Album Blends Key Songs, Hit Singles & Newly Remastered Tracks From UK Albums Into Cohesive New Collection

Album in Stores Tuesday, March 22, 2005

PRNewswire
NEW YORK
Dec 8, 2004

Columbia Records is set to release Strange And Beautiful, the eagerly-awaited first Stateside album from the UK musical phenomenon Aqualung (nee Matt Hales), on Tuesday, March 22, 2005.

With tracks remastered for its inaugural release in America, and song selection curated by Hales, Strange And Beautiful provides a perfect introduction to the music of Aqualung, an impeccably cohesive collection culled from Aqualung's critically-acclaimed best-selling UK albums, Aqualung (2002) and Still Life (2003). American audiences may already be familiar with Aqualung's music through its appearances in such hit TV programs as "Smallville," "Nip/Tuck," and "The OC."

Strange And Beautiful includes Aqualung's breakthrough single, "Strange And Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You)," the mesmerizing track which first introduced Hales' music to the public in 2002 via an enormously successful Volkswagen Beetle television ad campaign. Powerful and enigmatic, the single version of "Strange And Beautiful," from Aqualung's self-titled debut album, hit the UK singles Top 10 (#7) that same year.

Strange And Beautiful features four other songs from Aqualung--which hit #15 on the UK albums chart in October 2002--including that album's second single, "Good Times Gonna Come," and "If I Fall," the title track from Aqualung's double-disk EP.

Aqualung was hailed across-the-board by the UK music press as " ... a guiltless pleasure ... " (Hot Press), " ... a must-have for all true music fans ... " (Rock Sound), and " ... the smoking album of the year ... " (Touch) while Hales, according to logo, " ... has just opened the door to the major league." The NME predicted that, "It'll make him a star," while the Evening Standard heralded " ... an astonishing talent that will quietly blow you away."

From Aqualung's second album, Still Life, which the Sunday Times called "Unquestionably the greatest collection of painstaking, finely wrought pop to be released this year," comes the album's first two singles -- "Brighter Than Sunshine" and "Easier To Lie" -- and other handpicked tracks. "Brighter Than Sunshine," the first single from Strange And Beautiful, has been captured in a music video directed by Norman Watson (Echo & the Bunnymen, Ronan Keating).

At a young age, the Southampton-born, London-based Matt Hales began absorbing multiple musical influences--including Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Brian Wilson and others--listening to records being spun at his parent's record store. Receiving a scholarship at 16, Hales studied music under some of Britain's foremost composers at London's City University, later cutting his rock chops in the Britpop bands Ruth and The 45's.

"Shimmering, gorgeously crafted songs, with glorious soaring choruses, spine-tingling moments of tension and release and an overwhelming sense of emotional honesty ... ."

  -- The Telegraph

  "Aqualung could be the next Burt Bacharach."
  --Uncut

"What might result in the event that Joe Jackson ever enlists Radiohead as a backing group."

  --The Guardian Guide

  "The boy has a future!"
  --Mojo

Aqualung will be in the states for a series of select concert performances and radio appearances surrounding the release of Strange And Beautiful (see itinerary following):

  Jan 23          Chicago, IL         Schuba's
  Jan 24-27       Park City, UT       Sundance Film Festival
  Jan 28          Los Angeles, CA     Hotel Cafe
  Jan 29          San Francisco, CA   Cafe Du Nord
  Jan 30          Seattle, WA         Crocodile
  Feb 02          New York, NY        Joe's Pub
  March 12        Los Angeles, CA     Universal Amphitheatre (KCRW)
  March 16-20     Austin, TX          SXSW Music Festival

  http://www.columbiarecords.com/

SOURCE: Columbia Records

CONTACT: Benny Tarantini of Columbia Records, Media, New York,
+1-212-833-5858 or Benny_Tarantini@sonymusic.com

Web site: http://www.columbiarecords.com/


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