The Beautiful Girls
It’s worth mentioning when a band can transform celebrated genres to the point where they sound both recognisable and innovative; a goal reggae-rock fusionists The Beautiful Girls just so happened to have managed to attain. This ability is evident in the current tour for new single My Mind Is An Echo Chamber – lifted off 2010’s triumphant Spooks LP – where frontman Mat McHugh has worked to combine Caribbean pace and rhythms, crafting together rock reminiscent of The Police, dubstep fundamentals and an impressive horn section to carve out a niche sound.
McHugh considers finding the balance between the familiar and the original essential to making noticeable music. “I guess the thing is with music, what I consider the ultimate goal, is to find a sound that no one else is using, and to try and combine all you love and all of things you enjoy listening to into your own brand of music.
“We collectively enjoy reggae and a very broad range of music,” he argues. “From hip hop, to more of the modern r’n’b stuff and dubstep and all that stuff … We also love drum and bass,” he adds, “and I guess rock comes in with the guitars.”
While the band are clearly pleased with their handy work on the genre-bending Spooks, McHugh says keeping the fans happy is a crucial element for The Beautiful Girls.
“I’m hugely indebted to the people who listen to my music and I owe them pretty much everything,” the frontman explains genuinely.
“They’ve paid the bills for quite a few years now,” he chuckles, “so in that regard I always want to push forward and progress musically… but I don’t want to just do something that is not going to be enjoyed by the people who enjoy our band.”
A lot like their records, The Beautiful Girls consider every concert a chance to show off what they can do as musicians, and are hoping that this tour will be their best set of performances yet. The band obviously prefer to play live shows over studio recording, as that live environment provides an opportunity to recreate songs in a new light while connecting with their ever-growing audience. In essence, The Beautiful Girls are the latest in a long tradition of roots-rock-reggae-folk-whatever bands that thrive in a live setting, where they’re given room to truly breathe.
“There’s not going to be fireworks or anything fancy, but hopefully our show will be better than last time and that’s how we approach it every single time we go on tour,” McHugh considers.
“We just know what we did last time and we want to have a better setlist, put on a better show than we’ve ever had and that honestly drives the band. If that wasn’t a consideration then I’d probably just stop playing music and do something else,” he laughs.
“Our agenda in the January tour is basically just to have a lot of fun and just play songs that people know and want to hear, and just make it a party in the summer,” McHugh nods. “We’re a perfect band to go see by a beach, somewhere in summer where you can just dance and have a good time, and if the mood is good and new songs can come out that night, then it will happen.”
THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS play The Ferntree Gully Hotel on Thursday January 20, The Prince Bandroom on Friday January 21 (tickets from princebandroom.com.au), Pier Live in Frankston on Saturday January 22, and the Barwon Heads Hotel on Sunday January 23. All shows supported by The Chemist. Check thebeautifulgirls.com for more info. Spooks is out now though Die!boredom Records.