[4 December 2006]
A follow-up to the US debut of earlier this year, Water collects 11 tracks from the Beautiful Girls’ three Australian releases pre-We’re Already Gone. The collection veers towards simple roots sounds, again strongly recalling Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. It’s become a genre for definite fans, and this isn’t going to bring much new to the plate. Particularly so for Water: simpler in style than the band’s later material, these tracks are relaxed, but lack substance. Sure, you can lose yourself in the vibe of songs like “Clear Day”, and the expansive melodies momentarily achieve a kind of sun-drenched beauty, but Xavier Rudd’s done something more soulful and more unique (we’ve heard “Need to Give This Broken Heart Away” before, and it’s Rudd’s “Green Spandex”). Some standouts, like the haunting “Music” and “Weight of the World”, combine exquisite melody and a relaxed roots sound. But it’s as if the band has one good song in them per album; the rest—passable. And the collection skips some of the band’s objectively best material, like “Blackbird” and “Learn Yourself”. To be fully legitimized, roots music needs a boost, some new take on the genre that breathes new life—for now, the Beautiful Girls can’t provide that spark.