Boston Whaler Cut In Half

Thrills - N.A.F.I.T.C.

by Unknown

Thrills includes: Johnny Angel (guitar); Merle Allin (bass).The Thrills (Boston): Johnny Angel (vocals, guitar); Merle Allin (vocals, bass guitar); Bobby "Wire" Kitson (vocals); Michael Collins (drums).Additional personnel: Jeff Souza (bass guitar).The Thrills only released one single during their lifetime, 1979's "Hey! (Not Another Face in the Crowd)"/"I'll Be the Heartbreaker," both sides of which are included here. They've managed to conjure an entire album out of their legacy on this CD, though, by adding six songs recorded on a Boston radio station in October 1978, as well as live tracks from 1978 and 1981. What's here is evidence of a good but not blinding punk-new wave band that certainly deserved to record at least one studio LP. Barb "Wire" Kitson's measured, resonant girl group-influenced lead vocals will generate inevitable (and reasonable) comparisons of the Thrills with Blondie. The Thrills were punkier (and usually faster) than Blondie, however, without songs quite as good or studded with hooks, though they were OK. "(I Don't Want) No Sympathy," the most girl group-poppish tune, is also the most mature, and sounds like something that might have caught on as a hit if enough people had heard it. Unfortunately, the sound on the 1978 live stuff isn't so hot, though it's pretty good on the two 1981 cuts. Unlisted on the CD cover are a few surprise bonus tracks - adding up to a full half hour, filling up almost half of the CD's running time! - that play at the end, including "I'm a Danger Zone" (sung by lead guitarist Johnny Angel) and different versions of "I'll Be the Heartbreaker" and "Hey (Not Another Face in the Crowd)." The recording date of this unlisted material is unidentified, but it's definitely a radio station performance on WBCN in Boston (including an interview segment), albeit with tinny sound quality. ~ Richie Unterberger
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