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INDIE ROCK

Older, but not necessarily wiser

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November 20, 2007

The Thrills

Teenager (Capitol)
The Thrills's 2003 debut, "So Much for the City," exuded the brash delirium of a schoolboy's holiday. Inspired by the five Dubliners' adventures during a carefree Southern California summer, the songs were all sunny swing, with echoes of classic California songsmiths like the Byrds and the Beach Boys. On its third album, "Teenager," the quintet examines the bittersweet experience of getting older and seems to be undergoing some growing pains itself. The band is still masterful at sweet, countrified indie rock. Album opener "The Midnight Choir" is smart and heartfelt, splashed with ebullient vocals and mandolin. "I'm So Sorry" is a gorgeous lament built on piano and harmonica, but the band has trouble stretching itself. "Restaurant" is a hodgepodge of parts, aching vocals at odds with vigorously strummed guitar. And the album's sprawling title track feels maudlin. Such melancholy themes are well served by frontman Conor Deasy's voice, which cracks like an adolescent boy under duress. But the effect wears thin when repeated too often. While at times fun and lovely, this release exemplifies the very treachery of maturing that it addresses with such earnestness. [Sarah Tomlinson]

ESSENTIAL "The Midnight Choir"

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