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The Thrills

So Much for the City (EMI International)

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Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but there appears to be a gradual rock migration toward harmony and melody. The success of the Strokes, Wilco, and even Weezer demonstrates that what's old can be made new again, that we can return to traditional rock values. Dublin, Ireland's the Thrills do so to magnificent extremes on their debut, So Much for the City.

A sun-drenched pop masterpiece, the Thrills' twangy take on the Beach Boys begins with three instantly memorable tracks. On "Santa Cruz," the song's saloon piano and lazy backbeat are overwhelmed with horns, banjo, and Hammond organ in an explosion of '60s grandeur. The vibe continues with "Big Sur," the album's first single, which includes the not-so-veiled reference "Hey, hey, you're the Monkees and people said you monkeyed around/But nobody's listening now." Track three, the jaunty "Don't Steal Our Sun," stacks so many "oohs" and "ahhs," it sounds like a summer fireworks display. If this all sounds a bit contrived, don't worry: The Thrills are legit. The band has succeeded in paying homage to its influences while still carving a path of its own.

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