Their average age may be 23 but The Thrills have old ears. To think that, when vocalist Conor Deasy was in swaddling clothes, his preferred artists, such as Van Dyke Parks and Rick Danko, were the reviled fodder of hoary old hairies who’d wished punk had never happened.
Today, such ageist generational markers no longer matter. So let’s flake out on a lilo to the sweet sound of The Thrills. This is the best childhood summer holiday you ever had, condensed into 45 minutes of delicately arranged, beautifully performed, big, bright, cheery music.
Luckily, beyond the intoxicating yet comforting melodies?an I-Spy book of Americana from the Brian Wilson-ish “Santa Cruz” to “Hollywood Kids” with its Midnight Cowboy-style harmonica snivels?are lyrics of some emotional depth (“Your Love Is Like Las Vegas”?now that’s a song title). When Deasy croaks that “it’s such a shame when old friends fall out” (“Old Friends, New Lovers”) it’s genuinely moving. As are the album’s numerous calls to escape the humdrum entrapments of everyday life, be it a “One Horse Town”, the sentiment of “Just Travelling Through” or the album title itself. So Much For The City indeed.
If The Thrills have a trump card, it’s that they are heartfelt and passionate enough to turn obvious reference points (Bacharach, Spector, Dylan, Young) into something original. The twangy guitar solo on “Deckchairs And Cigarettes” helps?it will have you dripping on the floor like a 99 in the midday heat. In the words of another great Irish quintet, here comes the summer.