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Youth Group
Skeleton Jar
Epitaph/Ivy League Records
www.youthgroupmusic.com


Simply fucking amazing, Youth Group treads well traveled ground, yet they succeed in making lasting footsteps beside the founding fathers of alternative music. Their sound is simple yet it pays obeisance to multiple 90's mainstays, while maintaining a clear identity that is fresh and new. At times they sound like Death Cab For Cutie, at others they veer into early The Cure territory, only to replace the intensity with something akin to the heaviness of The Pixies. It is this wide spectrum of sound that makes them interesting as they own the feel and let it propel them forward.

Production is key, highlighting the good rhythmic qualities of the songs without letting the theme become repetitious and adding an airy feel to the vocals that drives the ambiance throughout the record. Other instruments do their respective things succinctly; guitars are nice and provide subtle connection lines that are memorable; bass winds around the main lines giving a nuanced texture to the songs. But, it is the drums though that give the penultimate momentum to the material, giving the songs a certain life beyond their basic structure.

Any song on this album would be worthy of air play, but mixed together, this record moves into must-have territory if not beyond into instant classic. It is the newness that makes it so exciting to me - yet hearkening to a time of music that was simpler and uninhibited, nostalgic even. Now all we need is a record company to pick up the distribution of their first album, so we can all enjoy it here state-side.

-bishop

Track listing:
1) Shadowland
2) Skeleton Jar
3) Lillian Lies
4) The Frankston Line
5) Baby Body
6) See-Saw
7) Drowned
8) Last Quarter
9) Someone Else's Dreams
10) Why Don't The Buildings Cry?
11) Piece Of Wood


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Mike Doughty



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