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The Thrills - So Much For The City


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 thrilling.

So Much For The City is a competent debut, but nothing remarkable, suggesting that the best may yet be to come from the band.

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 own.

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 solid effect.

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...

Track listing:
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

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