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Learn Yourself

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Album Review

Learn Yourself, the U.S. debut release by Australian roots rock trio the Beautiful Girls, gives fans of Jack Johnson and Ben Harper another reason to be cheerful. The group, fronted by singer/guitarist Mat McHugh, has a charming feel set in motion by the loose, breezy vibe of "So It Seems," but the sunny pulse of "Music" and the lilting, sad "Less" reveal emotional and artistic depths that seem rare for such a young band. At times the group draws on Sublime's stumbling surf bum vibe, specifically on the undeniable "Freedom (Part 2)," which gives desperate lyrics an optimistic reggae thump. While the brushed drums and shimmering acoustic basslines of "Cash Money" — courtesy of Mitch Connelly and Clay McDonald — are stylistically predictable, these Girls have a welcome gift for melody, compelling prose ("Sturdy up your heart, the road ahead is long") and appealing presentation. Beautiful indeed. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi


Formed: 2001 in Sydney, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Centered around singer/songwriter Mat McHugh, the eclectic Australian rock group Beautiful Girls make rootsy, folk-inflected pop that has drawn comparisons to such like-minded artists as Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, and Mason Jennings. Formed in 2002, the band put out the mini-album Morning Sun and the five-track limited-edition EP Good Times before releasing their first full-length album, Learn Yourself, on San Dumo in 2003. A year later, the...
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