Drenched in melancholy, Aqualung's American debut—which consists of songs compiled from the British artist's first two U.K. releases—may be a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal. But there is plenty here to nosh on for those craving the next Coldplay album. Aqualung (which is the stage name for singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hales) breathes a strange beauty into these atmospheric, keyboard-driven tracks with his choirboy tenor and sumptuous arrangements that at times achieve an almost classical grandeur. All the brooding, though, can be a bit of a bummer. Even at his most upbeat, on the sweeping romantic declaration "Brighter Than Sunshine," Aqualung won't crack a smile.
•DOWNLOAD THIS: "Brighter Than Sunshine"