100 for 2000 – #64. Youth Group – Casino Twilight Dogs

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2006 – #4. Youth Group – Casino Twilight Dogs
(Ivy League)

Yup. Why, it’s another Youth Group album. Casino Twilight Dogs was probably their big chance at mainstream success, having had their cover of Alphaville‘s Forever Young featured on the OC. It was a number one single, and the guys even toured with Coldplay.

A few words about Forever Young. Now, I had no idea how hated this band were until Forever Young hit the airwaves. The amount of jealousy and anger people had at this band because of their success was shocking to me. That they were the best band in Australia at the time didn’t seem to matter. Because they were on a cool label they got all the chances.

(I would think they were the lowest selling artists on Ivy League who made more than one record, but why let facts get in the way)

So, yes, it’s a cover. But that is the schtick for the OC. Having worked on a couple of those soundtracks, they are full of cover versions. Also, Forever Young is a great song. It’s a weird doomed prom night teen suicide song – and the Youth Group version, which slowed it down and added sweetness and menace, was an interesting take.

All the fuckers who hated them knew far too much about the OC. The tall poppy syndrome was in full force. And finally, the fact this song got to number one shows how much Australia is a little America. I mean, I could not hate the OC any more than I do, and it just wrapped up a generation. We are sheep.

In the end, Forever Young is the last track on this record, and I think of it as a separate thing. The delights of this album come from all the other songs, some of Toby Martin‘s finest.

The biggest problem with Casino Twilight Dogs is that it sounds like a compilation. It jumps around a bit, from the opening Catching And Killing, a strange, jagged song that’s almost like the Fall. Then there’s Start Today Tomorrow, one of Martin‘s most beautiful songs, backed by a string quartet. And there’s everything in between.

Martin lost none of his ability to express big emotions. Let It Go (which oddly was left off the international version) nods to Dylan, but is about sweet release. Similarly, Daisychains is a gorgeous apology to an abandoned lover. I would be on the balcony at work, listening to these two songs as I had my regular cigarette, wondering if I could actually pack it all in.

Th album trails off at the end. There are a few too many mid tempo pop rockers. And there are great songs, but it’s probably their weakest album overall. It was still easily one of the ten best of 2006.

Success did not come knocking after all. Youth Group bunkered down and continued on.

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