I really like this, the second album from The Thrills, which no doubt bodes ill for their career, judging from the fact that I was massively irritated by their debut So Much for the City. It wasn’t so much that their debut was bad, indeed the singles were impossible not to warm to, even for a curmudgeon such as myself, it was just that it was too…(choose – arrogant, clichéd, in debt to the Beach Boys). As someone who resolutely refuses to grant 'classic’ status to Pet Sounds, there was something far too formulaic and perfect about these tousled Dublin lads and their Santa Cruz sounds.
The second album Let’s bottle Bohemia seems to me to have the pop sensibility of the first album, filled out with some more depth, albeit a depth that was hinted at the first time around.
Conor Deasy’s vocals will be the lynchpin for the success or the failure of this album, for it’s on his distinctive pitch that the album’s world weary tone hangs. If you like it, you’ll love the album. If it irritates, it’s going to feel like an hour smooching a cheesegrater.
The lead single Whatever happened to Corey Haim manages to sum up many of the themes, all seemingly revolving around disillusioned friendship, loss of innocence, and the down side to the American dream. Whether it’s as a result of the guilt factor at their extraordinary success, or merely hangovers, on songs like Not for all the love in the world or Found my Rosebud they sound particularly convincing.
The album is unlike its predecessor in that it’s both short on hit singles but also, mercifully, on fillers, with every track earning a deserved place. The highlight for this reviewer, hard as it was to choose one specific track, is The Irish Keep Gate Crashing, which manages to be melancholic, melodic, and eminently pop at the same time – no mean feat.
It’s obviously going to get a kicking, from the British press in particular – after all, one mustn’t be consistent in one’s “The next big thing” praise. To the band’s credit they’ve taken not only sonic influences from the Sixties, but also work ethic ones as well, promising to record and release at a prodigious rate in comparison to our current crop of pampered pop stars who manage to squeeze out an album every three to four years. More power to them.