Mat and Girls to part ways
The Beautiful Girls promise fans a happy farewell, writes Ross Purdie
HERE will be no time for tears as The Beautiful Girls work their way around the country on their farewell tour after 10 years together.
The Australian all-male folk trio, who played Splendour in the Grass last weekend, promise a celebratory swansong before their amicable parting of ways to focus on new music projects.
The final shows will be split in two – the first set acoustic and the second plugged in – packed with hits including Periscopes, Black Bird and I Thought About You.
‘‘You hear of all these bands who don’t like playing their most popular songs but the big tunes have never fallen out of our set,’’ singer and songwriter Mat McHugh says.
‘‘My favourite moments are when I get to hear everyone sing along and participate, so I’ll always love to play those songs.’’
McHugh says the time is right to retire The Beautiful Girls, so that he can start a new chapter as a solo songwriter.
He says he will continue to play fan favourites at shows but wants rid of the ‘‘element of make believe’’ behind The Beautiful Girls.
‘‘It’s cool and part of showbiz but I’ve evolved to a stage of life where I want to be as honest and transparent as I can,’’ he says.
‘‘It suits me better to release music under the person who created it and age gracefully rather than hanging on to any vestige of pop stardom.’’
McHugh has been buoyed by the success of his solo album, Love Come Save Me, which was released for free earlier this year.
As an independent artist he wrestled with the idea of giving music away but the experiment has paid off with almost 50,000 downloads to date.
The keen surfer believes the link between money and art is a music industry construct that skews public perception of what makes a great song.
‘‘There are some songs that I’d pay thousands to hear over and over and there are others where the artist should be paying me to sit through,’’ he says.
The Beautiful Girls were an ever revolving collective, with McHugh the only permanent member.
He plans to continue performing with his old band mates and is proud of the legacy that the group leaves behind.
‘‘I just hope we are remembered for representing our culture,’’ he says.
‘‘I grew up on the beach and so did all my friends so we’ve never tried to pretend we were from New York or London.’’
Once The Beautiful Girls are put to bed, McHugh will tour his Love Come Save Me album before starting on a new record. He will go ‘‘where the music takes him’’, yet pressed on a potential Beautiful Girls reunion, can’t completely rule anything out.
‘‘Absolutes are dangerous and if you think you’re absolute on anything in life you’ll probably end up looking like a fool,’’ he says.
‘‘I could make another Beautiful Girls album in six months or never again but at the moment I can’t foresee it.’’
The Beautiful Girls play The Tivoli, in Brisbane, on August 11, the Great Northern Hotel, in Byron Bay, on September 27 and September 29 and the Coolangatta Hotel on September 28.
The Beautiful Girls singer and songwriter Mat McHugh.