Saturday, September 24, 2011
The Skinny :
Using the money from a compensation award following a childhood accident, Irish born Thomas Walsh set up a recording facility in a shed in his parents' garden. In the early 1990s, Walsh adopted Pugwash as a stage name and began recording some 150 demos to 4 track and, in 1995, one of those was named Demo of the Year by Irish zine Hot Press. In 1997 he signed a record deal with the now defunct Vélo Records and in 1999 released debut album Almond Tea. Within four weeks of its release it had been placed at No 23 in a list of the top albums of the millennium in Hot Press. In 2002, Pugwash released second album Almanac featuring contributions from collaborator Jason Falkner. Almanac was another collection of similarly melodic and retro-styled songs which invited comparisons to classic 1960s and 1970s pop. The record caught the ear of Andy Partridge, who would go on to name the single "Apples" as the most exciting track he had heard that year. In 2003, they returned to the studio to record a follow-up to Almanac and was involved with the setting up of 1969 Records with Daragh Bohan. The label would go on to release the next two Pugwash albums.
The recording of Pugwash's third album Jollity began after Walsh contacted Dave Gregory of XTC through a friend to ask Gregory to write some string arrangements. Impressed with the demos, Gregory readily agreed. After recording at Abbey Road Studios, Gregory introduced Walsh to Andy Partridge, following which Partridge went on to co-write the song "Anchor" with Walsh. Jollity was released on 1969 Records in Ireland on September 23, 2005 and was met with numerous glowing reviews.
Walsh announced he had started recording the follow-up to Jollity in May 2007. Later that month he revealed the working title of the record was 11 Modern Antiquities. The record was released on March 23 featuring contributions from Jason Falkner, Dave Gregory, Brian Wilson collaborator Nelson Bragg, Michael Penn and Andy Partridge. Partridge also co-wrote two of the tracks, "My Genius" and "At the Sea". Eleven Modern Antiquities was once again met with acclaim by critics. In January 2009, it was announced that Pugwash had signed a five-year deal with Partridge's Ape House label. The band's first release on Ape House was the compilation album Giddy, a collection of songs from Pugwash's four studio albums as selected by Partridge.
The new record, The Olympus Sound was released in August, 2011.
For what it's worth, Thomas Walsh is the real deal. If you can find their records, buy them. All of them.
RIYL : latter day XTC, Zombies, Beach Boys, harmonies a-gogo, melodies, superb songwriting and all the craft one would want in three minutes.
01. The Season of Flowers & Leaves
03. It's Nice to Be Nice
04. My Genius
05. Answers On a Postcard
07. Fall Down
08. Cluster Bomb
09. Sunrise Sunset
10. Take Me Away
11. At The Sea
12. I Don't Like It But I Gotta Do It
13. Anyone Who Asks
14. Finer Things In Like
15. Two Wrongs
16. Following Down
17. Song For You
18. Everything We Need
19. Keep Movin On
The Olympus Sound (2011) 5-7-12
Eleven Modern Antiquities (2008) 4-8-10-11-17
Jollity (2005) 3-20
Almanac (2002) 1-2-6-9-13-16-18-19
Almond Tea (1999) 14-15