So Much For The City
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Thrills (irish) - So Much For The City - Cd
Ever wondered what it would be like if Brian Wilson and Bob Dylan were the songwriters in Teenage Fanclub? It's not a common question, but it is one that now has an answer in the shape of The Thrills.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
No doubt you've read in every other review about The Thrills that their sound pays homage to the era of West Coast and The Beach Boys and it works well for them in this breezy collection. The singles One Horse Town and Big Sur are a good indication of the other songs on the album so if you liked those, you're bound to love this. But at the same time, the more catchy, upbeat tunes are tempered by more melancholic sounding songs such as on the achingly beautiful Deckchairs and Cigarettes.
This is the perfect soundtrack to the summer with breezy, sunshiney tunes to lie back and enjoy.
Hazy when performed live, The Thrills' magic is exposed best on record, where one can bask in the tender yet cracked vocals of Conor Deasy. Despite the relatively up-tempo singles 'One Horse Town' and the joyous 'Big Sur', as well as the country blues roll-up 'Say It Ain't So', the overall feel is of a glorious uninterrupted lazy summer afternoon, with hazy sight and reddening skin included. 'Just don't change a thing' Deasy croons on 'Deckchairs and Cigarettes', his voice splintering for the ultimate poignancy, and the crowd murmurs in response 'We won't!'
Arguably the most notable debut of 2003 so far, So Much For The City contains several gems apart from the already released 'Santa Cruz', 'One Horse Town' and 'Big Sur'. 'Don't Steal Our Sun' is surely the next single, a glorious beaming warning complete with 60s girl group chorus and Deasy's trademark fractured tender tones. The lyrics reveal a darker side behind the sunshine: 'Broken friendships surely beckon' they forewarn in 'Old Friends New Lovers', while in 'Your Love Is Like Las Vegas' Deasy caustically sighs 'Don't you know, you can't rewrite/your own history, cigarette Barbie'.Read more ›
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.
Only real stand out track here is the single "Big Sur" which is great imo. The whole album has a nice light rock, pop, feel to it making a pleasant listen. I found this quite easy to sing along to as well which is another good point about the whole album.
Falls shy of a 5 star rating as its a little repeitive in my mind, making the name "The Thrills" a little ironic. Heh, still, buy this, great easy listening music.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I hate the people who analyze and pick the thrills to pieces. I love them. Theyve got so much heart and theres loads of great upbeat tunes on this debut. Read morePublished 4 months ago by zero charisma
Such a great Album, Stunning in fact with the vocals & Music showing it a great masterpiece Indie/Alt Album. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Brenton
the debut album which the band has never bettered....signs of The Beach Boys creep in from time to time which is not necessarily a bad thing... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this CD in a fit of nostalgia and did not regret the decision. It's easy listening, relaxing Sunday music.Published 20 months ago by Ellie
every time i listen to this album I'm amazed again at how good it is
why they felt the need to force changes in their style is beyond me - why couldn't they just carry on... Read more
So love this album. Bought it when it first came out and listened to it constantly. it got a bit battered over the years and some is no longer listenable so i decided to buy a... Read morePublished on 18 May 2014 by L. Hutchinson
Although The Thrills haven't released any new material for at least five years, the band from Ireland shone very brightly during their four years as chart artists. Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2013 by Brit Boy