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Roisin Dwyer, 29 Aug 2011
Certain things are guaranteed at a Pugwash gig: (1) infectious tunes with sublime melodies; (2) witty banter and general buffoonery; (3) a departing feel-good-factor. Tonight’s Olympus Sound launch does not disappoint on any front.
The fifth long-player from Thomas Walsh & Co. is chock-a-block with ELO-esque pop gems deftly delivered via finely-honed musicianship, exceptional harmonies and an effortless ability to weave in a compelling hook.
Tonight, however, the quartet deliver a career-spanning set generously peppered with new material and Walsh’s trademark quips.
‘Apples’ and ‘Take Me Away’ are perhaps two of the most perfectly-crafted songs ever written and receive an effusive welcome. So does new material such as lead single, the playful, Beatles-y ‘Answers On A Postcard’ and the eloquent, string-laden ‘Be My Friend A While’.
The achingly poignant ‘Here’ and beguiling ‘Finer Things In Life’ display a softer side to the songwriting, their earnestness offset by Walsh’s humourous chatter.
‘Dear Belinda’ – an ode to actress Belinda Stewart-Wilson – is introduced with a reference to her latest Loaded shoot, there is an extended anecdote about the purchasing of a bottle of Schloer and a shout-out to guitarist Tosh Flood’s 71 year-old mother Dolores in the audience.
Towards the end Duckworth Lewis Method cohort Neil Hannon joins the band on stage for ‘The Age Of Revolution’ and ‘Meeting Mr. Miandad’ before a rousing ‘Nice To Be Nice’ and euphoric ‘Mr. Bluesky’ (Jeff Lynne himself would have been jealous) brought proceedings to a close.
It’s a beautiful new day, hey, hey!