Aquilo achieved huge success as their first two albums, ‘Silhouettes’ and ‘ii’, amassed 250 million streams as they hit Glastonbury, played with Oh Wonder, and picked up positive comparisons to The xx and London Grammar. But they’ve been audibly reborn on recent releases such as ‘Out In LA’ and the ‘Sober’ EP, a resurrection that will be fully realised with the release of their new album ‘A Safe Place To Be’ on October 15th. The duo have today launched the album with their brand new single ‘Our Bones Turn To Stone.
‘A Safe Place To Be’ is a soaring, ambitious and achingly beautiful piece of work that’s rich in scope, deftness and emotional depth. Nowhere is that more striking than in ‘Our Bones Turn To Stone’, a heart-quivering song that yearns for home over shimmering piano and strings. It was written two years ago when the duo – Ben Fletcher and Tom Higham – returned home to Silverdale from Los Angeles and discovered that embracing their roots was all the inspiration that they needed. And so just before Christmas, in the studio in Ben’s parent’s basement that they first made music in, Aquilo crafted one of their favourite ever songs.
As they explain, “When we made this song it felt like a defining moment for us and the album. It was one of the first songs we made where it all clicked into place for the two of us. We started playing this melody on an old, dusty, out of tune piano. Within a few hours of going with the flow it just poured out! We hope it can do the same thing for people listening that it’s done for us.”
That heart-settling glow of coming home shines throughout the album. There’s the familiar delicate melancholy of Aquilo’spast work, but songs like the Coldplay-meets-Bon Iver rush of ‘Talking To Yourself’ or that lush R&B vibe on ‘Our Days Are Numbered’ bounce and crash to create an entirely new sound. Just like the elaborate model village of Silverdale that adorns its cover, the album is full of details to get lost in. From the echoed memories of ‘Costume Change’ to the dreamy ‘Silver Spoon’, from the ripping regret of ‘Stupid Not To Try’ to the uplifting soul of ‘I Wanna See You Smile’, the album feels like a world that you never want to leave.
Aquilo adds “To have ‘A Safe Place To Be’ finished and ready to release feels strange but in a good way. We’ve been working on this album on and off for 2 years and have been through so much in that time. Creatively we just needed to step away from making music after being sent to LA to write a ‘hit’. Cut to a year later, A Safe Place To Be was born.
We showed the music to a friend and creative director we’d worked with in the past (Charlie Drinkwater). We started working together on building a detailed model village based on our memories old and new. It’s set in the village we both grew up in and each song holds a place in that model village for the two of us.
That is our Safe Place To Be, our memories, our home town and songs all in one place. It really does feel like a new phase for the two of us. The start of something new. We’re just eager to get it out in the world.”
Prior to writing ‘Our Bones Turn To Stone’, the pair had decided to put Aquilo indefinitely on ice. They hooked up with producer Jack Sibley (Pedestrian, North Downs, Maribou State) and let their creativity flow, just as they had done back when they first started. It was an epiphany, and the start of what they thought was a brand new project together. Yet in time, they came to realise that the combination of Tom’s vocals and Ben’s instrumentation couldn’t be anyone else. Aquilo had instead been reborn, broader in scope, stately in scale, and simply a level above anything they had created before.
‘A Safe Place To Be’ is now available to pre-order/pre-save here, and will be released on digital, CD and vinyl formats. All pre-orders will receive instant downloads of ‘Our Bones Turn To Stone’ and ‘Out In LA’.
‘A Safe Place To Be’ tracklist:
‘Out In LA’
‘Our Bones Turn To Stone’
‘Talking To Yourself’
‘You Make Me Mad’
‘Stupid Not To Try’
‘Our Days Are Numbered’
‘Better Off As Strangers’
‘I Wanna See You Smile’