Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thrills, The - Teenager

The Thrills - Teenager
Record Label - Virgin Records
Release Date - July 30th, 2007

Ireland's pop outfit The Thrills are known for their beachy pop songs, carried by the breathless voice of singer Conor Deasy. Probably the best way to summarize their sound is to note that the band was featured playing in the bar on The OC. With they newest release, Teenager, The Thrills have delivered us another round of exactly this music. The album isn't a huge departure from either So Much For The City or Let's Bottle Bohemia. This isn't to say that the album isn't enjoyable. Rather, the opposite is true. When listening to Teenager, it's hard to believe you're not on the west coast at sunset.

The album opens with some jangly guitars and cymbals on "The Midnight Choir," and launches almost immediately into Deasy's falsetto. The Thrills have often used guitar hooks rather than vocal hooks, and this trend continues here. It's a pleasant midtempo track that sets the mood for the rest of the album.

When listening to Teenager, the lyrics end up taking a backseat to the instruments. Part of this is the thinness of the vocals, but part of it is just the fact that the lyrics aren't particularly memorable. Deasy is always nice to listen to - he never hits a harsh note - but at the same time it doesn't really matter what he's saying. Many of the songs on this album feel like that - like they make better background music than singalong tunes. However, maybe that's the idea. I'm not sure. The downside to this is that many of the tracks blend together and seem a bit interchangeable.

There is a marked change of pace on "Restaurant," where the guitars are clearer than on other songs, and there's a bit of a country vibe to the whole song. Deasy's voice almost clashes with the music, but not quite. There's a fine line there that he manages not to cross, and it makes the song work beautifully. "I'm So Sorry" uses a piano and a harmonica to great effect, also adding to the country feel. Sometimes it's hard to believe that this band is from Dublin, when it feels like their songs are straight out of the American West. The title track is a meandering song that has Deasy longing for a love from his past. The instrumentals are beautifully arranged and complement the pining vocals perfectly.

The final track, "There's Joy To Be Found...The Boy Who Caught All The Breaks," is where the band brings in all the musical elements found throughout the album to create a wonderfully hopeful dual song that winds everything up nicely. Overall, this album is simply "pleasant." It's not inspiring, but it's not unbearable. It's perfect background music for your summer bonfires on the beach.

01. The Midnight Choir
02. This Year
03. Nothing Changes Around Here
04. Restaurant *
05. I Came All This Way
06. Long Forgotten Song
07. I'm So Sorry
08. No More Empty Words
09. Teenager
10. Should've Known Better
11. There's Joy To Be Found...The Boy Who Caught All The Breaks *

* - standout tracks

For Fans Of: Athlete, The Magic Numbers, Nada Surf

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