Good guitar pop can take you back to that late spring day in college, when you drifted off from the book you were reading on the campus lawn and just soaked up the sun. And though they may be from dreary Dublin, The Thrills kick out the kind of sunny jangle that can take back the mantel of pop music from the pre-fab over-produced acts that litter today’s top-40 radio.
The Thrills use Beach Boys-esque harmonies, and like the classic surf band they admire, they aren’t afraid to add orchestrations. Lead singer Conor Deasy has a voice that combines the creaky crooning of Neil Young with the urgent emotions of ColdPlay’s Chris Martin. Daniel Ryan’s guitar and Padraic McMahon’s bass combine to draw out the melodies without ever overpowering them.
Their first album, “So Much for the City,” owed much to California and featured settings like Santa Cruz and Big Sur. California still seems to play a prominent role on their follow-up, “Let’s Bottle Bohemia.” Even though the city of broken dreams, otherwise known as Los Angeles, isn't mentioned by name, it still seems present in many of the songs. The positively bouncy “Whatever happened to Corey Haim?” deals with the emptiness of celebrity. Deasy writes, “I came to this city/ to build a mountain of envy / to marry a kennedy.” And the song “You Can’t Fool Old Friends with Limousines,” is about someone who’s found fame but forgotten who they are in the process.
McMahon describes their albums this way, “The first album was a perfect Sunday sunny afternoon on the beach with a hangover, whereas this one is Saturday night 10 hours earlier, when things are just about to get a bit crazy.” The new album features guest appearances by REM’s Peter Buck and the legendary Van Dyke Parks (who also worked with the Beach Boys).
The Thrills would be a perfect band to listen to in the car, play at a party or even zone out to in the privacy of your own home. Believe it or not, pop music can still be really, really good. For more information about The Thrills, visit http://www.thethrills.com/.