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Irish band releases thrilling debut

Rebecca Saunders | Thursday, February 26, 2004

Thrilling: A word any new band wants to be described as. But why wait for the critics to call you that? Better yet, just make it the name of your band! The new Virgin Records band The Thrills seems to have adopted just that strategy in choosing their extremely suggestive name. However, the question looms: Are they what they suggest? Ironically enough, their first album, So Much for the City, is a slower sound overall, with a few mildly upbeat songs dispersed throughout the album. A “thrilling” rock track would be expected but is not found, although this is not a detriment to the album. While the name may suggest the spirit of the band rather than their style of music, no one is asking for any changes to be made. The five-piece, Dublin-based band seems to be of a different yet thrilling nature. The majority of the band members were friends from adolescence, and after a couple of years of learning and practicing music, the band took a four month vacation to San Diego, Calif. in the summer of 1999. It was their love of the ’60s West Coast music that led them to San Diego, and once they arrived they found sofas that they pulled onto the beach and wrote their album. The California influence is obvious, if not the focus, of their album. Of the 11 songs, eight are blatantly related to, if not about, California, the beach and the sun. Thus The Thrills cover three of many young adults’ favorite things – not bad for subject matter. Influenced by The Beach Boys, ESP, Burt Bacharach, as well as “The Virgin Suicides” and “West Side Story,” and also their Irish descent, The Thrills produce a unique and interesting sound on So Much for the City. As for their creative name, The Thrills claim it was “inspired in equal parts by Phil Spectors’ Sixties girl groups and Michael Jackson’s greatest LP.” These guys do not fit into any box rock and roll has come across before. Throughout their album, the songs are interesting and musically unique for our time. The influence of the Beach Boys is very apparent, but the overall sound is much stronger than the melodies of the Beach Boys. With stronger drum and bass presence, the catchy melody is sung by the gentle voice of lead singer Conor Deasy. There is a lot of Beach Boys-esque echoing in choruses and such, and overall it really works. Keys are integral to So Much for the City, as is the often plucking sound of a gentler guitar that has been seen in much current rock music. There really is not a song worth skipping on the entire record. Some of the stronger songs are “Santa Cruz (You’re Not That Far),” “Don’t Steal Our Sun,” “Big Sur” and “Your Love is Like Las Vegas.” Some of the songs even have a bit of a country twang to them, like “Say It Ain’t So,” and many of the songs have a harmonica sound added to the melody. So Much for the City is a good album done by a very unique band. The Thrills have produced an album perfect for spring break and even better for these cold weeks leading up to it.

Contact Rebecca Saunders at rsaunder@nd.edu