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Ensoulment is THE THE’s first studio album of new songs in a quarter century. This 12-song album will be released on Cinéola / earMUSIC on Friday 6 September 2024.

Encompassing characteristic topics ranging from love & sex, war & politics, life & death – to the meaning of what it is to be human in the 21st century – Ensoulment was written, demoed and mixed at Studio Cinéola in London, the base of THE THE’s main creative force, Matt Johnson.

The songs were further refined in rehearsals ahead of a six-day session at Real World Studios near Bath, where Matt was joined by long-standing THE THE members James Eller (bass), DC Collard (keyboards), Earl Harvin (drums), and Barrie Cadogan (lead guitar). The album also marks the return of co-producer and engineer Warne Livesey, who previously worked on landmark THE THE albums Infected (1986) and Mind Bomb (1989). Additional performances include Gillian Glover (backing vocals), Terry Edwards (horns), Sonya Cullingford (fiddle) and Danny Cummings (percussion).

Over the years, THE THE’s releases have developed a distinct aesthetic style, which in no small part owes to the artwork of Matt Johnson’s late brother Andrew (AKA artist Andy Dog). Ensoulment proudly features some of Andrew’s previously unpublished works on the cover, in the exquisitely designed 32-page booklet for the vinyl and CD formats, as well as on the covers of all singles. ‘Cognitive Dissident’ is the first single from the album, written by Matt Johnson and Barrie Cadogan, produced by Matt Johnson and Warne Livesey, released digitally on 17th May. The limited edition physical 7″ vinyl will become available from 7 June. Soon to be revealed is a stunning music video by long-time THE THE collaborators – director Tim Pope, People Like US (Vicki Bennett), and Peter Knight!

The track listing of Ensoulment is as follows:

  1. Cognitive Dissident
  2. Some Days I Drink My Coffee By The Grave Of William Blake
  3. Zen & The Art Of Dating
  4. Kissing The Ring Of POTUS
  5. Life After Life
  6. I Want To Wake Up With You
  7. Down By The Frozen River
  8. Risin’ Above The Need
  9. Linoleum Smooth To The Stockinged Foot
  10. Where Do We Go When We Die?
  11. I Hope You Remember (the things I can’t forget)
  12. A Rainy Day In May

The album will be available in the following formats: Gatefold 12” Black Double Vinyl / Limited Edition Gatefold 12” Crystal Clear Double Vinyl / Exclusive Limited Edition 10″ Triple Vinyl Box Set / CD Hardcover Mediabook / Jewelcase CD / Limited Edition Cassette. There will be 3 x 7” Vinyl Singles, the first of which is now available to preorder.



All Ensoulment formats, including the first single ‘Cognitive Dissident’, and accompanying merchandise can now be pre-ordered via the links below:


Listen to ‘Cognitive Dissident’ HERE



Having last released a studio album in 2000 (NakedSelf), Johnson’s lengthy absence was partly explained in his 2017 multimedia project, The Inertia Variations, which took inspiration from British poet John Tottenham’s 2005 book of the same name – particularly the idea of “brooding, abstraction and evasion” getting in the way of the creative process – resulting in a feature-length documentary and the Radio Cinéola Trilogy triple album box set.

At the end of The Inertia Variations documentary, Johnson was filmed performing a new song live in his studio; ‘We Can’t Stop What’s Coming’ is an elegy to his elder brother Andrew (AKA artist Andy Dog), who passed away in 2016. “It was not an easy song to write,” he says. “That was the first time I’d sung in many years. I enjoyed it but found it very emotional.”

The experience prompted Johnson to revive THE THE as a live band, leading to The Comeback Special sold out world tour of 2018. Unfortunately, COVID delayed the release of the accompanying live film and album until 2021 – as well as hampered the intended start on the writing and recording of Ensoulment. Instead THE THE released a series of 7” inch singles: ‘We Can’t Stop What’s Coming’ was followed by ‘I WANT 2 B U’ (2020) and ‘$1 ONE VOTE!’ (2023).

Ensoulment contains echoes of THE THE’s multi-faceted musical past, however it is richly representative of the mercurial band’s here and now. Johnson is characteristically unafraid to tackle the emotional complexity inherent in the human condition – intimacy in an age of alienation; democracy in a post-truth age; empire and vassalage; and the inexorable rise of AI – yet the album is equally shot through with hope.

“It’s vital to be hopeful,” Johnson states. “And I hope people get out of the album what we put into it. It was created under very happy circumstances, with a great vibe amongst the band and all the people that worked on it. There was a lot of thought, a lot of work, a lot of love, a lot of laughter!”