Skip to main content

51. The Thrills - Let's Bottle Bohemia (2004)

I would never begrudge another music listener their opinion, but some opinions fly so brazenly in the face of truth that one can't help but react negatively. Witness Jody Rosen's review of The Thrills' new album in the October 2004 issue of Blender. She (or he?) uses adjectives such as "overwrought," "strained" and "self-serious" to describe the effort. He (or she) seems to think that the band has become pretentious and full of itself. I don't know what album Jody Rosen listened to, but I just don't hear it.

Instead, I would use these words to describe the album: "loose," "effortless" and "charming." And clearly no band high on their own importance would name a song Whatever Happened To Corey Haim?, nor would they write a line like "I'm too vain for greatness." Maybe Jody Rosen has some secret grudge she (or he) is playing out in print, because the only whiff of pretense on this album is the brief orchestral reprise of Found My Rosebud that ends the affair.

The greatness of a song can be measured by the presence of at least one memorable moment. You know the moments I'm talking about...the ones that you point out to your friends, the instrumental touches or great lines that really stick out and make you want to listen again. Each of the ten songs on this album have at least one of those moments. From the way the melody downshifts unexpectedly on the word "night" in Saturday Night, to the sudden swell of synthesizers on The Curse Of Comfort, to great lines like "I guess everybody went to a better party" and "your frat boy past could be president."

Usually, the sophomore album tends to be a huge burden for a band. In fact, The Curse Of Comfort appears to be about that very problem...how it's hard to make relevant art when you are fat and happy and praised for your work. Their solution is to "hope love gets in the way." But scanning the lyrics, I think I may have discovered the source of Jody Rosen's anger: "the suburbs dream tonight of finding their muse / damn those rape victim writers and their five star reviews." Okay, that's a little harsh, but get over it!

At any rate, comfort obviously hasn't harmed them yet, and The Thrills have shambled right past the potential sophomore slump. And they did it quickly! It was just last November that I reviewed their first album. In that review I wondered if the band could forge their own identity outside of the California / Beach Boys / Neil Young thing. The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, I would go so far as to say that not since Weezer has there been a more promising debut /follow-up pairing.

So the fact that singer Conor Deasy claims they're just getting started ("Let's bottle bohemia / and start a career") might be a bit boastful. But bravado is definitely not the same thing as pretense, Jody Rosen!

Rating: B+
Fave Song: Not For All The Love In The World

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

12 by Weezer

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... I decided to take an unconventional route for this 12 by, and pretend Weezer have already released a "greatest hits." Here's what I think that would look like:  1) "Buddy Holly", 2) "Undone - the Sweater Song", 3) "My Name Is Jonas", 4) "The Good Life", 5) "El Scorcho", 6) "Hash Pipe", 7) "Island in the Sun", 8) "Dope Nose", 9) "Keep Fishin'", 10) "Beverly Hills", 11) "We Are All On Drugs", 12) "Pork and Beans".  Here's a different take: 1. " Say It Ain't So"  (from Weezer , 1994)  A little bit heavy, a little bit catchy, quiet-loud dynamics. So basically, it's Pixies lite. The song is interesting lyrically because it's basically nonsense until the "Dear daddy..." bridge, which lets out a t

12 by Jenny Lewis

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... Completely separate from Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis has put together an impressive oeuvre that is very difficult to winnow down to just 12 songs (if you include her work with Rilo Kiley, fuhgeddaboudit). But I've made what I feel is a valiant attempt. Because I admire Jenny's lyrics so much, I'm going to limit my commentary to a favorite couplet from the song. (If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen along here .) 1. "Rise Up With Fists!!!" (from Rabbit Fur Coat , 2005) "But you can wake up younger, under the knife / And you can wake up sounder, if you get analyzed." 2. "Melt Your Heart" (from  Rabbit Fur Coat , 2005) "It's like a valentine from your mother / It's bound to melt your heart." 3. "Born Secular" (from Rabbit Fur Coat , 2005) "God works in mysterious ways / And God give

12 by Vicious Vicious

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course). This one features... If you need a reference point for the work of Vicious Vicious mastermind Erik Appelwick, the most appropriate would be Beck. Like Mr. Hansen, Minnesota-based Appelwick has the ability to navigate between making you laugh and making you cry and making you want to dance, and embraces genres from country to R& B to folk to pop.  I've included songs from the two albums Appelwick did under the name Tropical Depression, because honestly there's not a lot of difference between that and Vicious Vicious.  I very literally  wrote the book  on Appelwick, so please feel confident you are hearing from an authority here.  If you have Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen to an alternate version of list here  (sadly, not all of VV's music is on the service). 1. "Shake That Ass on the Dance Floor" (from Blood + Clover , 2003) A loungy, laconic come-on