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Bands to Watch: The Thrills

WHO: Irish quintet with a penchant for the beach and theByrds. They may be from the land of pints and potatoes, but whensinger Conor Deasy wistfully croons, “Santa Cruz,you’re not that far,” it’s as if he’s alifelong West Coast boy cruising up Highway 1.

SOUND LIKE: Sun-kissed country rock sporting Phil Spector shades. On their debut, So Much for the City, the Dubliners cast sea-sprayed, lazy, hazy 1960s California into Britpop perfection, complete with thumping pianos and sweeping harmonies.

FUN, FUN, FUN, UNTIL COLUMBIA HOUSE CATCHES ON: Restless at home, the band spent a summer beach-bumming in San Diego, scamming CDs from mail-order companies, and accumulating tickets for public drinking. “They’re real strict on fucking IDs there, and we were pretty broke, so we drank on the beach,” Deasy says. Without their time at the shore, “we would have been an Irish version of Interpol,” deadpans guitarist Daniel Ryan.

ECCENTRIC GENIUS ALERT! “We turned up to a gig in Dublin, and the sound guy shouted, ‘What’s the lineup?'” Ryan says. “And we shouted back, ‘Four vocals, four keyboards, banjo, two guitars, bass, drums, accordion, and harmonica.'” “There was a pause,” keyboardist Kevin Horan continues, “then we heard, ‘Which one of you fuckers thinks you’re Brian Wilson?'”