I wasn't going to make any old commercial shit, I wanted to write brilliant songs that would actually speak to people. So I went back to Northern Ireland, to my parents' house away from everything, back to where we were before we had any success. Being in that mindset felt like starting again. We'd met Joe Strummer in Japan and he said, "I'm going to be in Belfast in a few months, come and do I Fought the Law with me onstage." And I didn't do it because I was staying home and writing. It's one of my big regrets, but during that time I wrote "Shining Light". We went off to record it in Van Morrison's studio in Bath and then some more in Spain. It was amazing. I was one of the best tunes of our lives. It's ensured our survival ever since. We were still so young we didn't want to give in. We were determined that wouldn't be the end.
On 7 August 2001 Free All Angels was released in the United States.
The album entered the charts at No. 1 in the UK, and has won numerous awards, including awards for the singles "Shining Light" and "Burn Baby Burn". It is also certified platinum by the BPI. The UK version has a (CD-ROM Enhanced CD), the ashvideomixer that allows fans to make and share online their own music video.
The American edition was released on the Kinetic Records label. It includes the bonus track "So the Story Goes" and a remixed version of "Pacific Palisades". The single "Burn Baby Burn" was remixed for US radio and appears on the singles and b-sides collection Intergalactic Sonic 7"s.
A German Special Tour Edition of the album featured different artwork and a second CD of B-sides, acoustic tracks and the French version of "Candy".
The Japanese release includes the tracks "Warmer Than Fire" and "Gabriel".