One of Australia’s most quietly adored bands, Youth Group stand ready to roar.
Youth Group are at the forefront of an exciting new era in Australian alternative music. They have the pop of The Posies, the articulate desire of The Red House Painters and Death Cab for Cutie, the rock of The Pixies, and the angst of Bright Eyes. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Toby Martin formed the group with drummer Danny Allen in Sydney, Australia and despite several line-up changes since, these two remain at the band’s core. After quickly gaining a strong live following the band signed to local independent label Ivy League Records (the same people who manage The Vines and Jet) and released their debut album in May 2001.
‘Skeleton Jar’ is the band’s second album and the talents of singer/songwriter/guitarist Toby Martin shine through on this album like a beacon. Left field, yet highly emotive lyrics navigate their way across varied landscapes of pop, folk, and indie rock terrain with his uniquely pure voice. From the haunting singles ‘Skeleton Jar’ and ‘Shadowland’ to live favorites ‘See-Saw’ and ‘Piece Of Wood’, Youth Group present an eclectic feast, with a darker and less poppier approach.
The beauty of this album is that every note is well-placed, every strum thought through, economic in the precision of the pop-coated anger. The songs give the listener no chance to get lost and no chance to escape their tales and tunes. It all starts with a drumbeat, a jangly Byrds-like guitar wrangle, and then Martin comes over, “lost in this purgatory,” and finally the full engine roar comes in for the chorus, ‘Shadowland,’ the song’s title, repeats over and over, with only a sliver of hope, “I want to float upon my memories, not sink into the gloaming sea.”
If the darkened cover and alienated art work don’t tip you early, this is a dark album. Tightened, taut even, Toby Martin’s unmistakably melancholic voice remains pure and potent throughout. Lou Reed is in the house, except this house is a shoddy low-rent shack in an inner city suburb and we’re scrambling to find change for a loaf of bread.
Youth Group are as compelling to see live as their songs sound on tape. They have toured extensively throughout Australia both under their own steam and as supports for international artists including Elliot Smith, The Strokes, Joe Pernice, The Stands and Clem Snide, and Luna. They also availed themselves the opportunity to spend a month in the US in March 2003, playing at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, before joining long time hometown fans, The Vines on their US West Coast tour.
Youth Group have just signed an international deal with legendary US label Epitaph – home to The Black Keys, The Hives, Elliot Smith and Nick Cave. ‘Skeleton Jar’ will be released in the States May 24th, UK July 11th and the rest of Europe September 5th. Expect the band to be embarking on an international tour soon.’
Epitaph prez Brett Gurewitz said: “On the very first listen, Youth Group enchanted me like a new acquaintance that I’d seemingly known my whole life. ‘Skeleton Jar’ is one of those rare generous records that invites you in again and again and never stops giving.”
YOUTH GROUP ARE :
Purchase these products from Amazon: