I recall being impressed by the single "Big Sur", and then further impressed by "One Horse Town" - not so much by the other big single "Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)", but I'd bought the album by then.
The music is a mixture of 60s/70s West Coast, with added Beach Boys harmonies. There are also diversions into Country and Western, and even a brief moment of Link Wray on one track.
Whilst the album is bright and properly summer-y feeling, I can't get past the fact that the signles are the high point, and the rest feel a bit like filler.
"Don't Steal Our Sun", "Hollywood Kids" and "Say It Ain't So" do their best to lift it, but it all feels a bit safe and one-dimensional. Some of the tracks sound like they need a little more work to finish them off, and sometimes just run out of steam rather than providing a definite ending, and some of the slower songs either sound a bit strined or out of place (may benefit from revised sequencing?)
Despite a couple of high points, the album misses "something" It almost feels as if the band could be had up under the Trades Descriptions Act - there is just not enough thrilling going on.
None of this is suggesting that 'So Much For The City' is in any way a bad album - the mood and production of the album is just right for that background barbecue music (or other Garden-type party of choice). The tone also makes me think that whilst not gracing the airwaves of playlist-constrained/constant looping Commercial Radio, the songs would find a home on Radio 2 - a notch above MOR, but not "too edgy".
It did the job for the Thrills in 2003 by promoting them on the touring circuit (remember that?) from small clubs to small/mid-size theaters.
I saw them in such a venue, and the band certainly played a strong show, and lead singer Conor Desay could hold the audiences attention.
But just as their ascension was gathering pace, a comparatively disappointing second album ('Let's Bottle Bohemia" and a changing musical landscape (Pop Idol, record companies seeking quick returns on investment instead of playing the long game by allowing time for "something" to happen, the rise of the internet and file sharing platforms ...) signalled a change in fortune.
A third album saw the light of day, but relatively low sales led to them being dropped by their record label, and the band fell apart soon after.
One Horse Town