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CD Review – The Thrills “So Much For The City”

The Thrills
So Much For The City

Grade: C-

Beach Boys with a Guiness twist, an endearing concept, but poor in practice. Such is the Thrills’ contrived magnetism. To wit, there is the pall of an impending genre, that of ‘Trivial Pursuit Rock.’ A few Irish lads and their chipper melodies do not bear with them the surety of another Pet Sounds, and yet Conor Deasy and his bandmates seem to fancy themselves as a load of Brian Wilsons.

As follow-ups go, Let’s Bottle Bohemia is more a complement or supplement than any stretch of what critics imagine to be advancement in means, artifice, or execution. Answering the ‘what if?’ of how to supplant their debut — So Much for the City — with a finger painting of a sophomore album, the Thrills’ tunes persist in their own way; brittle and crude for all except those whose musical je ne sais quoi is that of a pre-kindergarten bottle-feeder.

Being lionized in print has only encouraged said Thrills’ amnesia as it relates to pop music’s unruly development, so much so that the luck of these Irishmen (and your tolerance for their work product) is contingent upon a concurrent need for the rhetoric of yesteryear. Tracks cut close to the mold of “What Happened to Corey Haim?” and remain in-laws of Mork (from Ork) and the Endless Summer: Too easy to like.

Congeniality is akin to a drunken steward insofar as both are enjoyable up to a tipping point that, once reached, begs the conclusion that everything is going down with the ship. There is an album-in-album effect, or déjà vu, reached within Let’s Bottle Bohemia, which is amazing. Thievery Corporation inspires the same phenomenon wherein the ears are no longer charmed once one leaves the elevator again and the innocuous soundtrack to the preceding ride can no longer be heard or remembered clearly.

As sensual experiences go, a Thrills record can be likened to a one-night stand: In one ear and out the other. Thanks are due to the passing of lowered expectations.

Put more charitably, any forthcoming release by the Thrills may be posited as a Westminster Kennel Club exposition should be, and that is as a drawn-out affair featuring none but those known for being experts at performing their one trick.

Colloquially, the Thrills — Ben Carrigan, Pádraic McMahon, Kevin Horan, Daniel Ryan, and Deasy — have built a transitory, ephemeral bridge of substandard musicianship and set it afire over the course of their still-brief career, though they and their audience have been dull to the stench of the band’s ’60s-revival put-on scene evaporating beneath themselves.

Contact Adrian Dowe at