Review: Jack Foley
THE Thrills have, thus far, pulled off quite a neat trick, arriving
on a wave of publicity generated by strong word of mouth from
musical luminaries such as U2.
Singles such as One Horse Town and, more recently, Big
Sur, have also marked them out as something an act to watch.
Now comes the real test, however. For having dazzled with their
singles, and earned a place on the most high-profile playlists,
it is time to see how consistent they sound in album form.
Hailing from Ireland, yet sounding more like the softer cousins
of California's Grandaddy, with a touch of The Monkees and The
Byrds thrown in, The Thrills actually fall some way short of being
So Much For The City is a competent debut, but nothing
remarkable, suggesting that the best may yet be to come from the
According to the publicity, the album is designed as much of
a homage to their influences, as it is an opportunity to tap into
the late-60s/early-70s sound they appear to be updating.
Hence, during recording, they actually rented a beach house in
San Diego for the sake of authenticity.
And, in attempting to deliver a retro-Summer soundtrack to those
lazy/hazy days of old, they do themselves no favours, evoking
too many comparisons without really emerging with a sound of their
The singles, of course, still remain the best fun, with One
Horse Town and Big Sur (with its Theme from The Monkees
rendition) almost effortlessly recapturing the sound of West Coast
psychedelia to terrific, feelgood effect.
The country-inspired Say It Aint So is another strong
number, with its slide guitars and upbeat drums marking a chirpy
declaration of love, while opening track, Santa Cruz, establishes
the trademark sound of the album in fine style.
But things become a little tiresome and repetitive elsewhere,
with slow-builders such as Hollywood Kids and Old Friends,
New Lovers becoming tedious the longer they continue - the
latter, in particular, sounds like a slower version of countless
other Thrills tracks.
Having established a sound, the band seems reluctant to stray
too far from it, thereby reducing the sense of adventure and freshness
of it. By the time you reach the drawn out final track, 'Til
The Tide Creeps In, you may have trouble distinguishing one
song from another.
Their musical repertoire remains impressive, however, bringing
in under-used instruments, such as the banjo and mouth-organ to
Taken in small doses, The Thrills can rightly claim to be an
exciting new band. En mass, however, their attraction seems to
fade as quickly as a Californian sunset.
The jury is very much still out on this one...
1. Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)
2. Big Sur
3. Don't Steal Our Sun
4. Deckchairs And Cigarettes
5. One Horse Town
6. Old Friends, New Lovers
7. Say It Ain't So
8. Hollywood Kids
9. Just Travelling Through
10. Your Love Is Like Las Vegas
11. 'Til The Tide Creeps In/Plans