Mat McHugh is The Beautiful Girls, and he's playing at Magnums this Saturday night.
Mat McHugh is The Beautiful Girls, and he's playing at Magnums this Saturday night. Contributed

Band's breezy tunes on the way

IF A musician was told to capture the essence of summer in a melody, then Mat McHugh, also known at The Beautiful Girls has hit that brief.

Beautiful World has been described as "summer skies and gentle breezes” and promises to have you reminiscing of salty skin and lazy afternoons lounging by the beach.

The Beautiful Girls has kicked off their national 23-date Beautiful World tour, in time for the Australian summer, and Airlie Beach will get a chance to savour the distinct sound this Saturday night at Magnums.

McHugh is the band leader, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer and he will be joined by long-time Beautiful Girls bass player Paulie B and former Xavier Rudd drummer Bobby Alu.

Known for writing "heart-on-the-sleeve songs”, the latest Beautiful Girls single, Beautiful World, is no exception. It's been described as a cruisey, upbeat taste of what's in store on the forthcoming album, and McHugh said it's also nod to his love of 1980s digital dancehall music; a smooth, sensual style of reggae.

"That came out of the ghetto community of Waterhouse in Jamaica's west Kingston Town; upbeat, uplifting and transformative by nature,” he said.

McHugh grew up in Sydney's Northern Beaches in the suburb of Dee Why.

"Dee Why is nothing like what it is today - back then it was commission housing, low income and I grew up in a single income family. I was raised by the surf and skate community,” he said.

McHugh said he's reached a point in his career, where the sound he creates is uniquely his own.

The musician describes it as honest and authentic and says it's the sound of his roots, and the journey to where he is now.

So Mat McHugh is The Beautiful Girls, or The Beautiful Girls is Mat McHugh?

"When I was 19 or 20 I went to an open mic night and handed in a demo tape. I didn't want to put my name on it, so I wrote 'The Beautiful Girls' instead,” he said. With five albums from The Beautiful Girls and two solo albums to his credit, McHugh, said when it comes to deciding what song would be released under what name it's more of a feeling, that he "can't describe”.

"If you had told me when I first handed in a demo, that one day I would be playing my music to crowds with thousands of people, in countries all over the world, I would never have believed you,” he said.

"To me, I'm just a person and no one is better than anyone else, and the fact that even one person wants to listen to my music, let alone thousands is crazy.”

Either way, Airlie Beach will be getting one hell of a performance from the accomplished musician, who believes we're all just people.


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