Viva the willful left turn! The element of surprise has been a cornerstone of great music forever: think Bob Dylan's electric revolution, or every second album by Neil Young, or the Clash's outrageous triple-disc sprawl, Sandinista! All and none of them were on Mat McHugh's mind when he took time out from his day job as founder-singer-songwriter of The Beautiful Girls to record this playful, profound and provocative solo debut, 'Seperatista!'
Mat McHugh on amazon.com
Mat McHugh on amazon.co.uk
"What I've always done with The Beautiful Girls is to run as far as possible from what anyone thought we were. Trying my best to keep challenging myself and other people is incredibly important to me." Hence the surprising electricity of last year's ZIGGURATS album, a disc that challenged old The Beautiful Girls fans while captivating a whole bunch of new ones. The beautiful irony is that those old fans are likely to do back flips over the melodious syncopated acoustic grooves of 'Seperatista!'
Off-kilter drums, deep bass, horns, piano, organ, melodica and cello flesh out Mat's voice, acoustic guitar and occasional ukulele on an album rich in precious sonic details. They're songs that reward interpretation on many levels.
The melancholy guitar figure of "Numb" and the cheerfully ambling reggae gait of "Over and Over/ Ring The Alarm" are worlds apart, but each questions the same fundamentals of human experience.
A line from "Bad Blood" expresses the shared dislocation that gives 'Seperatista!' its thematic spark: "It just gets lonely spinning around the sun." It's the same drama for the character sinking in alcohol in "The Bottle", the ones seeking release or escape in "Fall To Pieces" and "Loneliness", and the one pledging love and loyalty in the uplifting ska tune, "I'll Be For You".
"Free of the BGs [Beautiful Girls], McHugh mines some darker territory, as keeping things sparse and simple. At times he brings to mind an upbeat Elliott Smith, at others, he sounds like an acoustic Frank Black. Thankfully, he's not another Jack Johnson clone.." - Rolling Stone
"...the release is never boring and showcases McHugh's musicality." - The Sunday Telegraph
"The layers become more apparent with each listen and the list of inspirations could go on forever, but understand that Seperatista! is one of the most unique and honest records of the year." - 3D Magazine
'Seperatista!' was recorded at Noisegate Studios in Sydney by Mat's long-term studio collaborator, Ian Pritchett, who is also down to play bass.
Seperatista! Track Listing:
1. Under The Landslide
3. It Isn't Me
4. Bad Blood
5. Fall To Pieces
6. Over And Over (Ring The Alarm)
8. The Bottle
9. Darling, This Scene Must End
10. I’ll Be For You
11. Still Be Your Friend