Imitation is generally a stone drag -- unless, that is, the impression allows observers to process something original but time-worn in a new and refreshing way. Such is the appeal of the Thrills, a quintet from Dublin, Ireland, whose work bears few obvious marks of the Emerald Isle. Instead, lead singer Conor Deasy and his compatriots, who open for Gomez on this date, draw mainly from vintage American pop and country-rock sources for their debut disc, So Much for the City. This ornate offering, produced for maximum lushness by onetime Beck helmer Tony Hoffer, initially seems to mistake devotion to its influences for sonic reinvention. In truth, though, the Thrills take a particularly Irish approach to their mission, amplifying the melancholy at the heart of their inspirational sources, and infusing the lyrics with just the right amount of jadedness. On "Big Sur," for instance, the five-piece makes an unexpectedly snarky reference to, of all bands, the Monkees: "People said you monkeyed around," Deasy croons, "but nobody's listening now." Because the Monkees started out as imitators, too, these lines represent evolution, pop-music style.
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