Youth Group is a pop rock band from Sydney, Australia signed to Ivy League Records. With its roots in the Canberra indie rock scene, the group was formed in the late nineties by school friends Danny Allen, Paul Murphy, Toby Martin and Andy Cassell. Andy Cassell being one of three partners in the Ivy League / Winterman & Goldstein group of companies. Of the original members only Toby Martin (vocals/guitar) and Danny Allen (drums) remain. After various configurations, including the temporary membership of versatile Sydney musician, John Lattin of La Huva, the current lineup was finalised in 2004 through the addition of Cameron Emerson-Elliott on guitar and former bassist of The Vines, Patrick Matthews.
Built around the pure vocals of Martin and clean production of Wayne Connolly, the sound of Youth Group is reminiscent of power pop / indie rock artists such as Matthew Sweet. However it is Martin's insightful and empathetic lyrics which distinguish Youth Group from comparable bands. Able to create vignettes based around the emotional dynamics of his characters, often female, Martin's lyrics are typically unsentimental but rarely unsympathetic.
While the band always had a dedicated following in the inner cities of Sydney and Melbourne, their career was unremarkable until a series of chance happenings lead Epitaph Records boss, Brett Gurewitz to hear their second album, Skeleton Jar, a US release of the album followed soon afterwards. Depsite sounding nothing like the California punk that Epitaph is widely known for, the support of a US label was the break that Youth Group needed to find a wider audience.
Although the band had played at the 2003 South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and done a small number of dates with The Vines and The Music on their US West Coast tour, including a sold out show at San Francisco's legendary Fillmore, it was the chance to support Death Cab for Cutie in 2005 that saw their profile rise most quickly. In addition, their single "Forever Young", a cover of the song by Alphaville, was used in the television show The O.C.. This song also saw much greater interest in Youth Group from mainstream audiences in Australia. The song debuted on the Australian charts at #2, and eventually peaked at #1. It was also #1 in the first ever digital download chart. During 2006, they will support Coldplay in their sold-out tour of Australia, as well they have annouced their own national tour.