Aqualung – The Argus

Ethereal popsters, Aqualung and Bic Runga, are inviting you to a romantic and atmospheric performance, this Sunday at St George’s Church. Aqualung produce delicate classical pop, songs that soar with frustrated desire and melt with mournful desperation. Originally from Southampton, Matt Hales began composing music at 4, won a music scholarship at 16, wrote his first symphony at the age of 17, which he then conducted to a 60-piece orchestra. A prodigious talent, Matt completed his training at London City University.

Touching on musical success with a series of Brit-pop bands in the nineties (RUTH, The 45s), Hales finally found his feet with Aqualung. Describing his music as “slo-motion and underwatery” Aqualung rose from the murky backwaters of pop with ‘Strange and Beautiful’ – the backing track to last years Volkswagen beetle advert. Avoiding being labeled as one-off one-hit-wonder; the one-man band has gone on to perform an acclaimed UK arena tour with Feeder. This show will contain songs from his latest album ‘Still Life’ and will be performed with his usual unassuming and unpretentious style, combining breathy and reflective vocals with tender string and fragile piano sections.

Accompanying Aqualung in the 18th Century church will be Bic Runga. Bic, of Chinese and Maori descent, is as vocally powerful as she is stunningly beautiful. Born in New Zealand, Runga counts The Smiths, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday among her influences; saying “Inspiration can come from weather… the sky, clouds, a beautiful piece of fabric, a texture, the way light will catch someone’s face and make them look different for a second.”

Her debut album ‘Drive’ was the biggest selling album by a local artist in New Zealand’s musical history, which went on to win the prestigious golden scroll award, (the UK equivalent of The Ivor Novello Award) The New Zealand Music Award for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Vocal Performance and Best Songwriter. Her latest album ‘Beautiful Collision’ was mixed by Michael Brauer (Coldplay, The New Radicals) and has rock-pop feel and a folk-ballad flavour. Runga, who has a most unique and unusual voice, has a range that is soothing, erotic and goose pimple inducing. With such magical songs cloistered in such a spiritual setting, it is sure to be an experience to remember.