The Beautiful Girls – Dancehall Days

beautiful girls-001’s Ruth Hodge checks out the latest longplayer from Matt McHugh and chums:

The Beautiful Girls had a growth spurt in the last four years and now should really be called ‘The Beautiful Women’, because the tone of their tunes has taken a swing to a deeper, more ethereal and synthesised yet equally grounded sound. They were out busking on the streets but now they’re deep in the heart of the city intimately churning out the goods in Dancehall Days. If this album had have been out when the Shrek came out, he wouldn’t have used onions in comparison to ogres, because this album has some serious layers which would challenge the onion population of the world.

Dancehall Days is not something you can really sit around and listen to. Heck, I was up off my bed five seconds into the first track, letting my whole body sway to the nocturnal sounds reminiscent of a night at a festival where everyone is petering off to their beds but the remnant few are in a low ceiling tent slicing through the 3am air with no sense of direction, totally consumed by the music (I may or may not be describing every time I’ve been to Woodford Folk Festival…).

The intro track is a refreshing change to their usual sea-breezy melodies, and is somewhat surprising in its electronic/synth vibes, showing a real musical talent of the band to honestly and successfully pursue something new. Tibetan Monks? Sure, why not? It’s a new arena for the guys with our old favourite Matt McHugh leading vocally and whilst the familiarity of McHugh’s vocals will be welcomed by old ears who have been waiting four years since Spooks came out in 2010, the refreshed lineup of the band supporting him are to be equally welcomed.

I’m taken back by “Until My Kingdom Comes” to the days of watching that French-Canadian production “Soupe Opèra” on day time kids television. It’s as if they’re just layering beats over melodies over beats and churning out some sweet, sweet sounds – and they’re doing it all on the fly.

The single “Dancehall Days” reunites fans with the seaside vibes but, as the title suggests, invokes a sense of rolling out of a barrel wave onto the beach and up into a beachside dancehall where the day turns into night and you haven’t even noticed, and that’s the way the entirety of summer should be – endless days and warm, breezy nights.

The Beautiful Girls have stepped out of their shell and are showing that they can translate their earlier melodies into a mature format. And for someone growing up with The Beautiful Girls as my summer playlist every summer for the past 10 years, I am looking forward to having them now grown up and moving their crowds off the beach in the sun into these summer dancehalls that we’ll ultimately end up grooving in all night, every night this upcoming warm season. For your summer, this release is highly recommended – just prepare to have your body subtly but uncontrollably swaying for the next few months.

Dancehall Days is released on October 3rd. The band are touring Australia soon. Details on Facebook.

ruth hodge


Review by Ruth Hodge.