The Thrills


The Thrills were artful dodgers when it came to confronting a much-loathed “pop pilferers” tag that hounded them following 2003’s So Much for the City. Of course, the buggers were just that, filching everything from Byrds-style country to surf pop to 1960s bubblegum. However, accusations of thievery fled upon hearing the songs, which teemed with an Irishman’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for the detritus of Americana. On Teenager, the bustling, burnished guitar lines return, the Dubliners continuing to mine ’80s UK indie while adding touches of piano and harmonica. But that fetish for foreign culture is replaced by slushy nostalgia. The Thrills recorded Teenager in a studio owned by mawkish balladeer Bryan Adams—fitting, as the album is dulled with his trademark overreaching sentimentality. Lyrics drift from clichéd yearbook scrawling (“This Year”: “Cuz I know / This year could be our year”) to simple diaristic indulging (“I Came All This Way”: “My feelings have grown / No longer a good friend / I long to hold you in my arms”). The Thrills fail to crystalize all that fumbling and awkwardness of teenagerdom, mainly because they sound awkward themselves.