Analogue Music | Aqualung - Additional Futures
Additional Futures EP

Additional Futures EP

Artist: Aqualung · Written by Matt Conner

Date Released

16 February, 2019



It all began with a metronome.

Ever since Matt Hales debuted with "Strange & Beautiful," the beautifully haunting album that begins with a metronomic rhythm accompanied by melancholy piano, Aqualung has become synonymous with melodic mastery. For that entire first album cycle, rave reviews rolled in for Hales' lovely yet sparse debut. Aqualung was a new artist both fragile and resonant, vulnerable and possessing.

A few years later, 2007's Memory Man would expand the palette considerably. The electric lead, the sonic flourishes, the stronger percussion, the emotional swells—they kicked in doors previously left closed. Hales had developed new interests and wasn't show about letting them into the mix. What didn't change, however, was Hales' songwriting brilliance. The melodies were memorable and inventive and the emotional depth remained even with new tools at work in the studio.

Fast forward a full decade and Hales is once again playing with new synthetic tools. Blips and bloops, samples and synths about on Hales' latest EP, Additional Futures. A few other albums have come and gone in the Aqualung catalog, and each have retained the strong musical instincts even as Hales has tried new flavors over the years. The new EP continues the glitchy experimentation of 10 Futures (even the title suggest the new EP is a series of outtakes from those sessions) but stays deeply connected to the same melodic core that's inhabited all of Hales' work since his debut nearly 20 years ago.

The opening plucks and birdsong of "All She Wore, She Was" eventually gives way to a militaristic snare build and repeating synth refrain that is part haunting cadence and compelling lullaby. "Complicated" skips along to movie credits that never roll, a much lighter melody that marks the five-song EP's high point. The melody moves in familiar ways to longtime Hales fans and it remains as catchy as anything on the album.

"Use Me" begins with a literal series of video game samples before giving way to Hales' Autotuned vocal and a heavy bass-driven melody. Even in this most synthetic of environments, Hales can't help but organically develop a compelling melody. "Blue" closes out the album with a swirling feel of ethereal elements. Even the lyrics seem otherworldly as Hales sings:

Particles of dust Particles of light You've come to pull me home Oh, you've come to pull me home

In his own way, that's what Hales has always done—pulled us into him, into his home, no matter what elements are swirling in the air at the time. Nearly two decades into a solo career as Aqualung, Hales has given us yet another gift with this Additional Futures EP.