One of Australia’s most recognised and decorated names in roots music is set to revive their original moniker and return to the stage as The Beautiful Girls this month. They embark on a national tour celebrating the release of their first album, Dancehall Days.
After 10 years of touring and producing music with great success to the order of 250,000 record sales, The Beautiful Girls essentially disappeared off the Australian music landscape in the eyes of the general public. This perception, however, was not the case as Matt McHugh explains, “We haven’t really been on hiatus, just the name was. We’ve been playing shows under Matt McHugh and the Seperatista Soundsystem for the last couple of years, but it got to the point that this seemed pointless because it was the same collective of people playing shows exactly the same way as this tour, just under a different name.”
Despite the widespread belief that The Beautiful Girls was a three-piece band, it has in fact always been a Matt McHugh project in regards to producing the music. It was in the live performance that the group would come together.
“Essentially it’s a collective of people that I’m fortunate enough to know and be able to call upon to perform the albums that I’ve written and recorded myself,” says McHugh.
Dancehall Days is a slight departure from the previously well known sound of The Beautiful Girls in that it moves into more electronic experimental groove. When asked, McHugh says this new direction came into being because “I was able to get rid of the preconceptions and boundaries of what both I and the public considered the band to be, which was very liberating and gave me the ultimate freedom to produce a record more along the lines of what I had always wanted to make.”
The new record no longer features acoustic drums, rather it uses more electronically inspired beats, dancehall-inspired rhythms and heavy baselines, which further reflects the current live performance aspect of The Beautiful Girls.
This new inner awakening and direction for the band is not something fans should be concerned with, as the shows will continue to feature percussion, guitarists, keyboards and a two-piece horn section, along with the more experimental aspects of synths, MPC samplers, analog bass synths and live sonic manipulation with delays and different effects.
“It’s all about getting people up on the dance floor from the first note to the last,” says McHugh. (JA)
Oct 17, Metro Theatre, 624 George St, Sydney, $35+b.f, metrotheatre.com.au