Casino Twilight Dogs - Youth Group
Russell Degnan

What do we make of Youth Group. A band with the pseudo-independent popularity only exposure on a popular television program can bring. A band that plays support for various bands of significant popularity. Should we hate them for being popular in a demographic whose musical taste inspires hatred? Or praise them, for gaining recognition for Australian music in areas hitherto unknown?

The answer is probably neither. Slowly, the depressing hold of teenage sheep on the cultural reins of popular musical taste is being eroded, in favour of artists with some claim to decent music. Youth Group, without challenging any musical boundaries on this release, provide an accessible and decent album with a few worthy highlights.

However, nor are they a band running at the forefront of some new Australian sound. The production is clean and professional (very un-Australian), but from the opening chords of Catching and Killing or Let it Go that bring to mind late-90s Brit-Pop, to the Shins like sounds on Sorry or The Destruction of Laurel Canyon this album remains no more or less than an international pop sound. Sadly, I suspect it is a genre whose time is past -- albeit one that might yet be dined on for another two decades -- hence, while it is a worthy album for a collection, it is just as likely to be in the bargain bin within a year.

Track Highlights
On a String - An unevenly paced song, that doesn't really fit with the catchy opening song, but finishes with some lovely pop "ah-ah-ing".
Daisychains - A song with some emotional angst, beginning with a simple guitar riff that slowly dominates the tune.
TJ - Again, emotion that seems lacking elsewhere. Somewhat reminiscent of Paul Kelly.
The Destruction of Laurel Canyon - The best song by some margin. drifting, almost acoustic work, with a great descending chorus line.

Finer Things 29th August, 2006 15:58:25   [#]