Youth Group – the widely-heralded Sydney-based rock outfit – will release its 2nd U.S. studio album, for the Anti Label (home of artists such as Tom Waits and Neko Case) on January 23, 2007. Casino Twlight Dogs, produced by Wayne Connolly (The Vines, You Am I), and mixed by Rob Schnapf (Elliot Smith, Guided By Voices), is the follow up to last year’s critically acclaimed Skeleton Jar, and comes at a particularly exciting time for Youth Group.
The band achieved platinum sales and an Australian #1 single in March 2006 with “Forever Young”, a cover of an Alphaville track that was a staple on The O.C. last spring before playing Coachella and undertaking a hugely successful support slot on Coldplay’s trek down under.
Casino Twilight Dogs, which was recorded live-to-tape wherever possible, debuted at #10 upon its July release in Australia. And for Youth Group – which consists of frontman/guitarist Toby Martin, drummer Danny Allen, guitarist Cameron Emerson-Elliott and former The Vines bassist Patrick Matthews – the disc was an opportunity to experiment.
Case in point is “Catching & Killing,” which started from a riff and a title by Cameron and drum loops he had made from records by The Stone Roses and Arab Strap. From there, Martin says, “I tried to write some words from the title. The lyrics began as a cut-up of Australian Shooter magazine and ended up as a drunken free-form rant in the studio. We cobbled together a version from about 30 takes.”
Also counting “On A String,” a song inspired by The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, “Let It Go,” a track inspired by Youth Group’s first-ever U.S. travels in support of Skeleton Jar, and the 2005 L.A. mudslide-homage “The Destruction of Laurel Canyon,” the inventive disc refuses to disappoint. Just ask Australia’s infamous radio station Triple J, which recently wrote, “Mainstream success has been a while coming for this Sydney band,” adding, “Singer Toby Martin channels some classic influences like The Byrds and Bob Dylan in many of these new songs.” Elsewhere, Drum Media declared, "It's one of the year's best albums, no question."
And with “Start Today Tomorrow,” Toby says the outfit found its finest moment. Calling it, “a paean to idleness,” Martin says the song – which boasts a beautiful string arrangement and bass courtesy of L.A. session legend Carol (Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Ronnettes) Kaye – “came from a phone conversation. Jane my girlfriend was putting something off and said, ‘maybe I’ll just start today tomorrow’. I wanted it to sound like a rainy day that never begins. It only ends.”