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Pugwash look poised to finally reap some well-deserved rewards.
Colm O Hare, 11 Nov 2003
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Colm O Hare
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Thomas Walsh was the underappreciated genius of Irish rock until his Duckworth Lewis Method hook-up with Neil Hannon put him on the map. One Ivor Novello nomination later, his band Pugwash are signed to a major and he’s receiving fan mail from ELO’s Jeff Lynne. As he gears up for his date at the inaugural Homegrown festival at INEC Killarney, the songwriting wizard talks to Olaf Tyaransen.
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Pugwash are justifiably chuffed this week after hearing that one of the songs from their Almanac album, ‘Anyone Who Asks’, has made it on to the soundtrack of the new Ed Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight movie, Pride & Glory.
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Thomas “Pugwash” Walsh has put together a supergroup of sorts (Neil Hannon, someone from XTC). Writing a decent Christmas single isn’t the easiest of tasks and, while this probably won’t end up as one of the standards, the cheeriness behind it all shines through. A suitably uplifting ditty that showcases the breezy approach to songwriting that Walsh makes his own all year round.
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Jollity, Pugwash’s third album, is easily Walsh’s most accomplished to date, his compositions fleshed out by some sterling strings and boisterous brass, the latter courtesy of the hugely talented Eric Matthews.
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Accolades don’t come much higher than being asked to meet your idols, but that’s what happened to Dublin pop-festish band Pugwash when Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson got a load of their new single.
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Tales of Thomas Walsh’s exquisite, Beatles-esque songwriting bent have already been well-documented on these pages, and this latest single comes up trumps. Walsh is about two degrees of separation (literally) from the likes of Air, Beck, Paul McCartney and Aimee Mann, and boy does it show. Laden with summery strings and plodding with an endearing strain of psychedelia, this single brings to mind the cheerful, sanguine likes of the Beach Boys. It’s nice to be nice alright, but it’s even better to be brilliant.
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