The majority of songs on this album are collaborations with eclectic artists such as Lianne La Havas, Joel Compass, Luke Sital-Singh, Billy Pilgrim, Prides, Josef Salvat and Kina Grannis. Yet even with all these additional voices, Hales' rings the loudest. All 10 songs sample flavours of pop, folk, soul, R&B and electronic, providing listeners with a variety so there's something on the table for everyone. At first, it seems like Hales is doing too much too soon, especially since he's been off the grid for so long, but he really makes it work because nothing sounds the same. Hales accomplishes things that I never would have thought he was capable of. Additionally, he includes soundbites of real noises such as clapping, shouting, bells, birds, analogue, etc.
On this album, Aqualung has evolved from the slow burning piano ballads to innovative indie production. Of course, it wouldn't be Aqualung without that signature falsetto, which is where 'Be Beautiful', 'Seventeens' and 'To The Wonder' come in, the most reminiscent of the emotional Top 10 Aqualung we all knew so well. 10 Futures takes Aqualung from the depths of forgotten, one-hit-wonder music territory and brings him back to the surface.
Well done, Hales. Welcome back, Aqualung.