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So Much for the City

So Much for the City

3.6 3
by The Thrills

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Love letters aren't particularly rare in pop music, but they're usually sent to people; on this gauzy disc, these transplanted Dubliners have crafted a series of sonnets to their adopted California home. It's as loving an homage as anything ever created by Brian Wilson, perhaps the Thrills' most obvious influence. Thanks to nifty arrangements and Conor Deasy's honeyed


Love letters aren't particularly rare in pop music, but they're usually sent to people; on this gauzy disc, these transplanted Dubliners have crafted a series of sonnets to their adopted California home. It's as loving an homage as anything ever created by Brian Wilson, perhaps the Thrills' most obvious influence. Thanks to nifty arrangements and Conor Deasy's honeyed vocals, the disc goes a long way towards transporting listeners to the Pacific, too. The album's most beach-centric tracks are probably its best: "One Horse Town" exudes an agreeable melancholy tinged by virtually all the hues in a late-summer sunset, while "Santa Cruz" gooses the surf-rock construction with a few post-mod rhythmic touches (thanks in part, no doubt, to producer Tony Hoffer, who's best known for his work with Air and Beck). There's a good bit of Poco-styled country-pop squirreled away in the grooves of tunes like "Say It Ain't So," and a crafty sense of the spirit of bubblegum past flows through "Big Sur" (which features one of the better Monkees bites in recent memory). So Much for the City proves that summer's fleeting pleasures don't necessarily have to fade when the days grow shorter.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Morgane Lhote
Five friends who grew up together in Dublin, called the Thrills, have produced a remarkably neat debut album. At the heart of their sound is a professed love for the tunes of the American West Coast of the '60s and '70s. Set to a backdrop of Al Green, Carole King, and the Band, they quickly pieced together tracks for their debut album, So Much for the City, during a four-month holiday on a beach in San Diego. But the Thrills aren't afraid to display more modern influences: a small audience at an Abbey Road gig was handed a one-sided 7" single with a cover of the Smiths' classic "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me." Their band name is also partly inspired by Michael Jackson's LP Thriller, and they covered "Billie Jean" on the English television show RE:COVERED. The three singles stand out on first listen as being radio-friendly hits: "Big Sur" opens with a zap of electronic keyboards, is driven by a melancholic banjo riff, and reinterprets the lyrics from the Monkees' theme: "Hey, hey you're the Monkees/People said you monkeyed around, but nobody's listening now." "Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)" has an inventive time-shifting melody and gorgeous backing vocals, but "One Horse Town," while being a satisfying slice of surf pop, is too repetitive and bland. There are moments when the Thrills produce some lavish, well-crafted pop songs: "Your Love Is Like Las Vegas" is a glorious uptempo anthem that features an inspired choppy guitar solo. Unfortunately, the slower songs on the album break up the uplifting momentum of the LP: "Hollywood Kids" and "'Til the Tide Creeps In" just drag along and aren't as successful as the simpler, jauntier numbers like the Dukes of Hazzard-style country-pop of "Say It Ain't So." With its impeccable vocal harmonies, catchy hooks, breathy laid-back vocals, and upbeat simple tunes, this is perfect bubblegum music with a nostalgic sound that adopts the sun-seeking vibe and sound of the Golden State, but still manages to remain contemporary. As for the rest, the one-dimensional repetitive lyrics ("You said, 'Let's go to San Diego/Hey that's where all the kids go'" on "Deckchairs and Cigarettes") do begin to irritate after a while, particularly when vocalist Conor Deasy constantly name-checks American cities. So it comes as no surprise that the band should record its debut LP in Los Angeles. Tony Hoffer, the producer behind Air, Beck, and the Smashing Pumpkins, offers a competent helping hand but the album would have benefited from a dirtier, bluesier sound; the production is far too polished, giving the LP a somewhat sterile feel. Still, So Much for the City is at times a beautifully rendered album with surprisingly solid songwriting; it's an unashamedly nostalgic musical postcard from the American West Coast. As a first LP, it shows signs of real promise, but it remains to be seen what direction the Thrills will follow next. They simply can't keep on borrowing from the Americana musical gold mine for much longer, because they couldn't sustain listener interest across the space of a second album.
Rolling Stone - Christian Hoard
A group of Cali-bred beach bums with an armload of Neil Young records couldn't have done much better -- and that's a compliment.

Product Details

Release Date:
Virgin Japan


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Thrills   Primary Artist
Charlie Bisharat   Violin
David Campbell   Violin,Leader
Larry Corbett   Cello
Joel Derouin   Violin
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Nick Lane   Horn
Steve Madaio   Horn
Jay Dee Maness   Pedal Steel Guitar
JayDee Mannes   Pedal Steel Guitar
David Woodford   Horn
Suzie Katayama   Violin
Daniel Ryan   Banjo,Bass,Guitar,Background Vocals,Group Member
John Hayhurst   Viola
Sara Perkins   Violin
Ben Carrigan   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Alan Cullivan   Group Member
Conor Deasy   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Group Member
Kevin Horan   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Background Vocals,Group Member
Pádraic McMahon   Bass,Guitar,Harmonica,Background Vocals
Nicholas Lane   Horn

Technical Credits

Thrills   Arranger,Composer
David Campbell   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
John Paterno   Engineer
Daniel Ryan   Composer
Steven Rhodes   Engineer
Ben Drury   Cover Design,Logo
Jeff Skillen   Executive Producer
Tony Hoffer   Producer,Engineer,Vocal Engineer,Vocal Producer,Engineering
Marc Carolan   Engineering
Jeff Levison   Producer
Britt Myers   Pro-Tools
Ben Carrigan   Composer
Alan Cullivan   Composer,Management
Conor Deasy   Composer
Kevin Horan   Composer
Pádraic McMahon   Composer

Customer Reviews

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So Much for the City 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first listened to this CD as I was getting ready for a big move from the east coast to southern california. The songs about my home state to be put me at ease and basically let me know what to expect: laid back, chill people who love their state. I wasn't looking for a great irish band, just some songs about california that weren't all about blonde girls in bikinis. Definitely will be filling a few christmas stockings this year with this album!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldnt say this is the best Irish band music ever. I would recommend you go and listen to some Seven Nations or Gaelic Storm. The singers don't draw you in with their music, see for yourself its like the songs that never end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am utterly enamoured with this new band from Dublin. I believe they're what the music industry needs right now: a bit of innocence with beautiful, up-lifting tunes about summer in California -- San Diego to be exact. In my opinion, The Thrills are another addition to the nostalgia, a longing for the resurgence of musical quality seen in 60's and 70's rock - as seen in bands like The White Stripes and The Strokes. This truley proves to be a breath of fresh air in a world saturated with R&B, rap, and increasingling unsatisfactory pop. Therefore, The Thrills are for people seeking good quality music with a really positive vibe.