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

Dec 08, 2004, 00:00 ET from Columbia Records

    NEW YORK, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- 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
     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."
     "What might result in the event that Joe Jackson ever enlists Radiohead as
 a backing group."
     --The Guardian Guide
     "The boy has a future!"
     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

SOURCE Columbia Records