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First Impressions: Aqualung, “Magnetic North”

By Nazirah Ashari on March 26, 2010


First Impressions: Aqualung, “Magnetic North”

Magnetic North
Release Date: 4/20


1. New Friend
2. Reel Me In
3. Sundowning
4. 36 Hours
5. Fingertip
6. Lost
7. Time Moves Slow
8. California
9. Remember Us
10. Hummingbird
11. Thin Air
12. Magnetic North

First Impressions

- Despite his remarks on early retirement from music back in 2007, England-based singer-songwriter Matt Hales, the brainchild behind Aqualung, decided to keep his musical passion going by returning with a new album entitled Magnetic North. The new album, which is to be released on April 20, 2010, is his second album under the Verve Music record label.

- This 12-track album features all-new materials recorded for the first time in his new-found home in Los Angeles, where Hales and wife Kim Oliver moved last fall. In “California,” Hales describes his big move to the sunny city as an escape: “We lose our troubles in the sun.”

- In “Magnetic North,” Matt focuses on making an acoustic record which explains the lack of snare drums and electric guitars in the album. This definitely compliments Hales’ wonderful piano and Aqualung’s signature laidback, soothing yet meaningful sound. 

- Tracks like “Reel Me In” and “36 Hours” has that particular British band sound ala Keane and Air Traffic, but overall, Hales still nailes it with his lusty vocals and the orchestra-esque arrangement.

- “Magnetic North” also features a few guest artists, which include Sara Bareilles, Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy, and Kelly Sweet alongside regular collaborators.

Key Tracks

“Reel Me In,” “Fingertip,” “36 Hours,” and “Remember Us”


This is a hopeful record that marks a change in Aqualung’s melodic pop sound that is probably due to his recent relocation. Overall, Matt Hales proves to be not just a prolific singer-songwriter from England that makes beautiful meaningful music, but one who knows how to keep the listeners singing along.

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