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The Thrills loses its edge

Becca Saunders | Thursday, October 14, 2004

At the beginning of this year, The Thrills emerged as a new and unique genre of music. The band headed back to the sound of the Beach Boys and feel good California rock with its first album, “So Much for the City.” The five Irish members of The Thrills appeared to have really caught a new wave.The only problem with its newest album “Let’s Bottle Bohemia” is that it is still riding the same wave that drove the energy on “So Much for the City.” While “Let’s Bottle Bohemia” is a great album with a catchy and unique sound, a better album title would have been “So Much for the City: Part 2.” The new and uniquely energizing sound of The Thrills’ first album loses part of its punch in a second album that hits too close to the sound of the first.Don’t think that “Let’s Bottle Bohemia” is a poor album. When the only major problem is that the terrific sound of the first album is too closely emulated, then the album is still good. Many of the songs start to sound the same after the album gets going, but even so, the actual sound of the music is interesting and different and thus worth hearing. A few songs that stand out are “You Can’t Fool Old Friends with Limousines,” “The Irish Keep Gate-Crashing” and “Not For All the Love in the World.” The current single, “Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?” is actually one of the weaker tracks on the album. With a bridge that sounds like it should be the background music to a movie about a guy cruising down the strip at night in Las Vegas, it captures the Southwest spirit, but not in a way that is even remotely original. “The Irish Keep Gate-Crashing,” the last song on the album, is only about three minutes long, and then is followed by interesting instrumentals for another seven minutes. The instrumentals feature a violin and guitar and are musically very intriguing and do not come across as inappropriate for the album. Lyrically, the album is mediocre at best. While there are some interesting concepts explored, the songs are full of clichés such as, “You can’t take the city out of a city girl” in “Faded Beauty Queens” and “So for the first time in my life / feel like a country boy caught in headlights” in “Found my Rosebud.” However, there are a few poignant images such as, “felt emptier than a suburban swimming pool in the fall” in “Our Wasted Lives” and “And so you crave recognition / but the keys to the city went missing. / People aren’t puzzles to be figured out.” The good and the mediocre are closely met in The Thrills’ “Let’s Bottle Bohemia.” A great band, but any Thrills fan will be disappointed in the lack of energy behind creating a new and distinguished sound for themselves. The Thrills seems to have ironically played it safe in the recording of “Let’s Bottle Bohemia.”