Irish rockers the Thrills have returned to their musical roots -- in California. Though the guitar-led five-piece are currently in a Dublin studio working on demos for their third record, they recently trekked back to the Golden State, whose landscapes provided inspiration for their 2003 debut, So Much for the City.
"After complaining and yearning, we finally got off the road a few months ago," says frontman Conor Deasy. "But after a couple weeks, everyone was getting restless and itchy again. Touring changes you: You're always wondering what's going on somewhere else."
Grabbing guitars, ukuleles and harmonicas, three of the five Thrills members -- Deasy, keyboardist Kevin Horan and bassist Padraic McMahon -- decided to cruise along the West Coast highways, down the 101 and beyond. The outfit even ventured to Big Sur -- despite their own lyrical warning, "Just don't go back to Big Sur," in the song named for the scenic, coastal locale.
"There were a few things Kev wanted to do for a while: He really wanted to go to Big Sur again, and he wanted to see Hearst Castle," says Deasy. "Padraic wanted to see Joshua Tree, because he is the biggest Gram Parsons fan in the band. So it was like, 'Fuck it! Let's make it happen.'"
While Deasy expects the road trip will inspire fresh material in the future, the group has about a dozen cuts to polish off, including "Should Have Known Better," "There's Someone New In Your Life," "Teenager," "Second Guessing" and "Music Won't Change the World." With hopes of releasing the album sometime next year, the band plans to amass twenty quality numbers.
"With this record we made ourselves a promise to write the best songs we can," the singer says. "And it doesn't matter if it seems like it's a step into the unknown. I just hope, by not being self-conscious about it, the songs have naturally [become] quite unique. This has seemed like a progression for us."
This creative evolution has pushed the band into poppier lyrical territory. "I felt the last record was a bit cryptic, so on this one I wanted to write really direct teenage love songs -- the kind of themes of Phil Spector and early Beatles songs," says Deasy. "But it's veering into songs about lessons and about getting older."
In the meantime, Deasy, who discovered the wonders of MySpace a few months ago, plans to keep fans apprised of their progress through a regular Web log, at myspace.com/thethrillsofficial. "We've always had great plans for staying in touch with our audience while making a new record, but we've never kept it up," he says. "This time, I'm going to try."