The Beautiful Girls – Dancehall Days
1.) The Beautiful Girls are Dead?
2.) Until My Kingdom Comes
5.) Real Love
6.) Me I Disconnect From You
7.) Dancehall Days
9.) #1 Stylee
The Pier Album Rating:
Release Date: Oct 7th, 2014
Record Label: Independent
Official Website: Mat McHugh Website
Not to be confused with the beach babes in Sydney, The Beautiful Girls are one of the top reggae groups to come out of Australia. Comprised of Mat McHugh (Vocals/Guitar), Paulie Bromley (Bass), and Bruce Braybrooke (Drums), The Beautiful Girls were formed in 2001 and have since become a mainstay in the Reggae community.
In their thirteen years, the band has toured the world twelve times, experienced several lineup changes and released four albums: Learn Yourself (2003), We’re Already Gone (2005), Ziggurats (2007), and Spooks (2010). The band stuck together as Mat McHugh sought a solo career, but took a hiatus in 2012. The band has since returned in a big way with Dancehall Days, an independently released album produced by McHugh and Ian Pritchett that was funded through the crowdfunding site, Pledgemusic.
First and foremost, this isn’t your typical reggae album, but that’s why I like it. Dancehall Days strays from more cliché roots-y production values and offers a more experimental sound that’s both modern and exceptionally mellow.
The album kicks off with “The Beautiful Girls are Dead?” a deep, disgruntled chant that doesn’t have any musical value, but serves an ulterior purpose. In an interview about the album, Mat McHugh clarified, “This one’s just a traditional Buddhist chant, which is like a blessing. It’s a play on people asking whether the Beautiful Girls were broken up. I thought it was pretty stupid all the questions I had to answer about the whole thing, so it was just kind of making fun of that.”
From here the listener starts to get a feel for the overall tone of the album with songs like “Until My Kingdom Comes,” “Stars,” and “Control,” which all feature a seamless blend of jazz, techno and reggae rhythms that are perfect for a night of indoor listening.
This tone changes slightly for my personal favorite on the album, “Real Love,” an up-tempo piano based tune reminiscent of Kanye West’s “Homecoming.” The production on this song is stripped down in comparison to the other songs on this album, consisting of some hints of R&B and dancehall rhythms.
Listeners begin to hear a more authentic reggae and hip hop sound throughout the rest of the album, particularly on the titular track “Dancehall Days,” the Gary Numan cover “Me I Disconnect From You,” and “#1 Stylee,” a simple dub which will make everyone’s inner Sublime fan happy.
To my disappointment, this is where the album came to an end. I expected to hear more than eight songs on the album, especially after a two-year hiatus, but I was left wanting to hear more. Whether this was an intentional ploy by the band remains to be seen, but The Beautiful Girls sound like they’re headed in a great new musical direction. This album sounds vastly different from their previous releases, but in this case, it’s a good thing. The jazzy, electronic dancehall rhythms sync perfectly with McHugh’s vocals, and I think all reggae fans will find at least a couple of songs in this album to their liking. I just hope their next album’s track list reaches double digits.
Written & Reviewed By: Andrew Aroche
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]