The Thrills, The Dead 60s, The Kooks

Clive Drew 08/11/2004

It's easy to make the mistake of writing off the Kooks as one of the ever-growing contingent of bands with the adjective 'the' in front of their names. However, if you stick about for more than just one song, you'll soon realise that the they splice together equal chunks of Ordinary Boys-chugginess, Marr-esque guitar intricacy and Adam Green-style vocals to marvellous effect. Definitely ones to watch in 2005.

The Dead 60s don't live up to the hype however. Dressing ever so slightly Mod, sounding like Guns Of Brixton-style Clash, most of their songs just tend to follow the blueprint of recent single Riot Radio with little variation in their sound. With bands such as The Dears, Bloc Party, Moving Units and The Others tipped for big things in the forthcoming year, it remains to be seen just why the Dead 60s are being touted for success along with them.

Now, to get the most out of the Thrills' music, you have to take them for what they are. They're not the most original or cutting edge act about, talk of them being dubbed the 'Irish Beach Boys' is ludicrous and there's no way you could ever class them as being your favourite band, but if it's no-frills (no pun intended), good-time guitar pop you're after than the Thrills can do no wrong.

The band are clearly pulling out all the stops on the tour (of which this being the first night), - white mic stands and risers, all members suited n booted, and the light show being far more ornate than ever before. Sporting a slightly rockier sound, songs off their recent album Let's Bottle Bohemia work well in a live environment, - The Irish Keep On Gatecrashing probably being their finest moment, a fast-paced foot-stomper, strangely reminiscent of The Jam's A Town Called Malice. Saturday Night (dedicated to a four year old in the audience) showcases Conor Deasy's saccharine-sweet vocals in a way much more prominent than in other tunes, and old favourite One Horse Town gets the old Thrills faithful singing along. As ever with the Thrills there are downers, such as the weedy Not For All The Love In The World, but with their extended repertoire means that a lot of the sub-ballads of the previous album are welcomingly omitted.

Too pop to be classed as indie, yet too indie to be truly pop, the Thrills sit teetering on the brink of both genres although never comfortably embracing either. It'll be interesting to see where they'll go with their third album, the point where a band usually finds their niche; - indeed an often-used criticism of the Thrills is that they haven't particularly progressed musically. It remains unclear where exactly were they will choose to go next - will they turn their back on the mainstream success they've begun to achieve in favour of increased street-cred, or will they home in on the middle-aged, Mondeo-driving market that they seem to be attracting already? Only time will tell, readers.