|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 (Contains Hidden Track 'Plans')|
Given the number of American references that litter So Much For The City, it comes as something of a shock to find that the band actually hail from Dublin. That said, like all good hippies, they have packed up their bags and headed out to California for the duration, and it's the sound of the sunshine state that is the bedrock for the album.
Tight harmonies, breathy cool vocals, upbeat simple tunes, the occasional string section and steel guitar to add an extra dimension here and there... The Thrills have more than done their homework into San Francisco and Los Angeles music, drawing it all together in a retro sound that nods to the seventies but remains firmly implanted in today.
The three singles stand out on first listen as being the main tunes of choice, and it's easy to see why they were released. "Big Sur" and "Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)" are satisfying blends of surf pop and country that leave a smile on your face and a spring in your step, while "One Horse Town" has a desperate energy that is sometimes lacking elsewhere on the album.
As for the rest, the general country-boy-goes-to-pop-school sound does begin to grate after a while, particularly on the tracks where the songwriting quality takes a bit of a dip. There may be much praise for the grandeur and ceremony of "Old Friends, New Lovers" and the soft lullaby of "Just Travelling Through". But there is almost as much to criticise in the hilarious full-on cowboy stomp of "Say It Ain't So" (all it needs is ye-haa...), the dreary storytelling of "Hollywood Kids", and the mediocre attempt to up the tempo for "Don't Steal Our Sun".
So Much For The City is a competent and, at times, beautifully rendered album. For every time it blackens its name with a poorly chosen influence, it sparkles twice as bright with a pure piece of pop. The Thrills might not have completely captured the surf life of the American west coast, but the very fact that they're looking there for influences, rather than jumping on the clubs and pretensionsof New York bandwagon, with its east coast nonchalance, is to be applauded and encouraged. --Chris Long
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
I don't think I'll be able to listen to the album without thinking of happy summer 2003 and a big smile appearing on my face.
‘Don’t steal our sun’ and ‘Your love is like Las Vegas’ are among the better songs, but there is nothing exceptional on here. Then again, there aren’t any particularly bad ones either. Each ticks along at a leisurely pace without looking to do anything extravagant. The lyrics lack any real punch and Conor Deasy’s vocals rarely venture from his high-pitched comfort zone, which is a shame, since in ‘Deckchairs and Cigarettes’, his most resonant singing is evident when he drops an octave. On the plus side, thanks to his high vocals, harmonies, notably in the bonus track, work well.
The Thrills have certainly found a knack for writing songs that stay in the head for hours on end. Unfortunately, the band seem to have realised this talent of theirs and tend to repeat the chorus’ rather too much, which has the potential to get a little irritating. Having said this, when the sun’s shining, who cares about that? Recommended for those reading this in the summer months.
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