No conformity for this Youth Group

By Gus Bode

Youth Group: “Casino Twilight Dogs” Release date: Jan. 30, 2007 Anti- Records Rating:

Fate has treated Youth Group well. These four Australian guys started as an unknown, underground band in 1998, releasing one album in 2000 and letting it fly, eventually becoming unavailable in 2003.

The next year, Youth Group releases “Skeleton Jar,” and the band’s name starts to soar. The single “Forever Young” hit platinum sales and Youth Group was signed to Epitaph within a year. So it is no wonder “Casino Twilight Dogs” is a much-anticipated album from a group who’s hard work – however short it may have taken – has paid off.


With a harmonizing 12-string guitar, some dreamy orchestration and a whole lot of overlying lead guitar, “Casino Twilight Dogs” is an airy, minty burst of relaxing freshness with as much seriousness. With song topics ranging from the death of a hometown kid who fell off his bike while being chased by the cops (“TJ”) to being told lead guitarist/vocalist Toby Martin being told his hair cut disrespected American troops (“Let It Go”), Youth Group matches the slower mood of the songs with the somber, often melancholy lyrics.

Youth Group’s use of the bass is excellent, and Cameron Emerson-Elliott provides a strong prop for the band to lean on. “Catching And Killing,” the opening track, makes a strong lead in, and with dreamy, light-weighted vocals, the bass blends well. With guitar that slowly twangs along with selected lead, varying from the occasional strum, the music isn’t forced to end but merely gets there eventually, never in any hurry.

“Casino Twilight Dogs” is more pop than indie, but easy to comprehend, with an almost Oasis-like tranquility that slowly whispers serenity through all 12 tracks.

Youth Group doesn’t experiment as much as the band could, but the group shows potential in songwriting and craft to eventually become more than normal, though they also could take the easy way out and remain the same. It’s mediocre but listenable and not worth investing in, though most CDs aren’t nowadays.