Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Thrills - So Much For The City (2003)

Can five Irishmen sound like they were born and raised in sunny Southern California? The Thrills emphatically answer that question with a resounding "yes!" These young natives from the Emerald Isle are so obsessed with California they relocated to the Golden State and are now catching waves and making a big splash all over the USA. Their Beach Boys style harmonies and ultra-pleasant California and British invasion pop sounds can veer off into slight forays with West Coast country-rock complete with steel guitar and harmonica. The band's love of their adopted home shows through in such song titles as "Big Sur," the CD's best melody and arrangement, "Santa Cruz," and "Don't Steal Our Sun." The Thrills love what they play and it shows. Their melodic, light and airy sound is truly a joy to hear.

This is a fantastic album as long as you don't listen below the surface. Lead singer, Conor Deasey, has a weak but pleasant voice, and often sounds like he doesn't have the stamina to perform, but the band's arrangements manage to succesfully hide Deasy's vocal limitations so much that you barely notice.

The Thrills also need a lyricist. The songs are very sparse lyrically, most only have few lines and the words they do write frequently make no sense. On "Santa Cruz" the song is filled up by repeating the song's title twenty-seven times. Don't look for the intelligent musings of other Californians such as Jackson Browne or the self-reflecting lyrics of "Pet Sounds." You just won't find The Thrills with much to say on So Much For The City.

If The Thrills ever learn to write songs like they can play, arrange and harmonize we will be looking at something truly special.

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