‘Additional Futures’ is the first body of work from Aqualung (real name Matt Hales) since his 2015 album ‘10 Futures’. In fact, as the name suggests, these songs were borne from the ‘10 Futures’ sessions but although they didn’t make the album, Hales found himself returning to them and they represent a line in the sand between his previous work and the promise of his future work. This is classic songwriting exploded into novel shapes and sounds; no doubt partly inspired by Hales’s other life as a trusted collaborator and producer for such artists as Lianne La Havas, Disclosure and Bat for Lashes.
The EP begins with the glockenspiel of ‘All She Wore, She Was’ and Hales’s hushed, emotive croon before a rich, dense synth pad crashes in setting the tone for the rest of the track. ‘Complicated’ explores the awkward moments at the beginning of a relationship before they develop into something more rewarding. ‘Fingermouse’ has a playful feel to it in the songwriting which is reflected perfectly in the production which help it develop into an oddball mini-anthem. On ‘Use Me’ Hales uses heavily auto-tuned vocals which glide over glitchy synthesisers and delays before a syncopated guitar strum joins the fray and arpeggios start to appear creating an oddly dense-yet-cold soundscape. EP closer ‘Blue’ is probably the lightest of all the tracks in a textural sense as minimal instrumentation is expertly constructed around a vocal which breaks out into a exasperated cry before falling back into the gorgeous, hushed melody it began with. ‘Additional Futures’ is the sound of an artist who lives his work; exploring the everyday and finding the extraordinary within it.
‘Additional Futures’ starts where acclaimed 2015 album ‘10 Futures’ (his 6th as Aqualung) left off – classic songwriting exploded into novel shapes and sounds, inspired by Hales’s other life as a trusted collaborator and producer for such artists as Lianne La Havas, Disclosure, Tom Chaplin and Bat for Lashes.