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The Thrills - 2002-2007 (Click here to listen on Spotify)

I had a different record slated for my next post but by pure chance I took a listen to this compilation album this morning while I was working out and as a result I offer a slight departure in that rather than an overlooked album, I present to you an overlooked band…The Thrills.

Dublin’s The Thrills put out 3 records between ’03 and ’07. It was weird, that an Irish band was recreating the Beach Boys in a way that suggested early 70’s independent cinema. Take a listen to a song like Santa Cruz or Big Sur and you’ll see what I mean. It sounds like sunny, beachy, California, definitely not dizzily old Dublin town. 
There’s a real cinematic quality to what they guys did too. “Hollywood Kids” sounds like Ali MacGraw’s face looked in “Love Story”. You love it, it touches you but you can’t touch it! It’s the aural definition of longing.

They really were on to something. You can tell from the songs that represent the second album “Let’s Bottle Bohemia” this dichotomy of sunny tunes about aging and loss continues. “Not For All The Love In The World” has a devastating opening line (You show your age when you drown your rage, but I see past those laughter lines). Faded Beauty Queens and The Irish Keep Gate Crashing are two other particular faves of mine, again sun drenched beauty over a twinge of sorrow.

By “Teenager” the final record it becomes clear that The Thrills really have only one gear. That’s the sad thing. They never took any chances outside of doing what they’d already done, which while bold at the start, eventually became safe. But they still did what they do fantastically. “I Came All This Way” and “Restaurant” are really excellent tunes. My wife even likes “Restaurant” and she hates everything I listen to!

The bottom line is, sure The Palace Brothers did a similar thing, and to a lesser extent Girls do it now (although they throw in a bit more Pink Floyd in the mix) but if you’d really like a good slice of California sunshine via Ireland, you could do a crapload worse than The Thrills.

Give it a shot!

by Mike Patterson