Pugwash (band)

Last updated

Pugwash 2014.jpg
Pugwash in 2014
Background information
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Power pop, Psychedelic pop, Chamber pop, Alternative rock
Years active1999present
Omnivore Recordings
Ape House
1969 Records
Karmic Hit
Vélo Records
Associated acts The Duckworth Lewis Method
The Divine Comedy
Website Official site
MembersThomas Walsh
Past membersTosh Flood
Shaun McGee
Joe Fitzgerald
Keith Farrell
Johnny Boyle

Pugwash is an Irish pop band fronted by Drimnagh-born musician Thomas Walsh. Pugwash has released six albums since its debut LP Almond Tea in 1999. Influences on the band's sound are regularly cited as including XTC, Electric Light Orchestra and Jeff Lynne, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, Honeybus and The Beatles, [1] though Walsh dismisses the Beatles comparisons as "lazy". [2]

Drimnagh civil parish in County Dublin, Ireland

Drimnagh is a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, situated on the Southside of the city between Walkinstown, Crumlin and Inchicore, bordering the Grand Canal to the north and east. Drimnagh is in postal district Dublin 12.

XTC English pop group

XTC was an English rock band, formed in Swindon in 1972 who were active until 2006. Led by songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, the band gained popularity during the rise of punk and new wave in the 1970s, later playing in a variety of styles that ranged from angular guitar riffs to elaborately arranged pop. Partly because the group did not fit into contemporary trends, they achieved only sporadic commercial success in the UK and US, but attracted a considerable cult following. They have since been recognised for their influence on Britpop and later power pop acts.

Electric Light Orchestra British band

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1970 by songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan. Their music is characterised by a fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography. After Wood's departure in 1972, Lynne became the band's leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material. For their initial tenure, Lynne, Bevan, and keyboardist Richard Tandy were the group's only consistent members.



Using the money from a compensation award following a childhood accident, Walsh set up a recording facility in a shed in his parents' garden. [3] He later claimed he was inspired to do so after hearing that musical hero Andy Partridge of English new wave group XTC had retired from touring and recorded his music at home in a shed. [2] 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 music magazine Hot Press . The recognition led to an introduction to US producer and musician Kim Fowley, who asked Walsh to play guitar for him live and in studio. Fowley then introduced Walsh to Irish singer-songwriter Andy White, with whom Walsh would go on to tour. [4]

Andy Partridge English musician and XTC founder

Andrew John Partridge is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who co-founded the rock band XTC. He and Colin Moulding each acted as a songwriter and frontman for XTC, with Partridge writing and singing about two-thirds of the group's material. While the band were a formative punk group, Partridge's music drew heavily from British Invasion songwriters, and his style gradually shifted to more traditional pop, often with pastoral themes. The band's only British top 10 hit, "Senses Working Overtime" (1982), was written by Partridge. He is sometimes regarded as the "godfather" of Britpop.

Multitrack recording process of mixing individual sound sources to a single recording

Multitrack recording (MTR)—also known as multitracking, double tracking, or tracking—is a method of sound recording developed in 1955 that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources or of sound sources recorded at different times to create a cohesive whole. Multitracking became possible in the mid-1950s when the idea of simultaneously recording different audio channels to separate discrete "tracks" on the same reel-to-reel tape was developed. A "track" was simply a different channel recorded to its own discrete area on the tape whereby their relative sequence of recorded events would be preserved, and playback would be simultaneous or synchronized.

<i>Hot Press</i>

Hot Press is a fortnightly music and politics magazine based in Dublin, Ireland, founded in June 1977. The magazine has been edited since its inception by Niall Stokes. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it had a circulation of 17,084 during 2014.

Using these as learning experiences, Walsh turned his full attention to writing and recording as Pugwash and in 1997 he signed a record deal with the now defunct Vélo Records. In 1999, Pugwash released debut album Almond Tea, which was co-produced by Walsh and Keith Farrell. [2] 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. [5] Following positive reviews for Almond Tea, Pugwash embarked on a lengthy tour of Ireland, supporting numerous visiting artists including Television and Grant-Lee Phillips.

Television (band) American post-punk band

Television is an American rock band from New York City, most notably active in the 1970s. The group was founded by Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd, Billy Ficca, and Richard Hell. An early fixture of CBGB and the 1970s New York rock scene, the band is considered influential in the development of punk and alternative music.

Grant-Lee Phillips American musician

Grant-Lee Phillips is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He led the group Grant Lee Buffalo in the 1990s, afterwards launching a solo career.

In 2002, Pugwash released second album Almanac. Again co-produced by Walsh and Farrell and featuring contributions from Air and Beck collaborator Jason Falkner, Almanac was another collection of similarly melodic and retro-styled songs which invited comparisons to classic 1960s and 1970s pop. The album 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. [6] Almanac track "Anyone Who Asks" would later be used prominently in the 2008 Hollywood movie Pride and Glory , starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell. [7] In 2003, Australian label Karmic Hit released a compilation of remastered tracks from the first two Pugwash albums, entitled Earworm. The same year, Pugwash 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.

Beck American musician (b. 1970)

Beck Hansen, known mononymously as Beck, is an American singer and record producer. He rose to fame in the early 1990s with his experimental and lo-fi style, and became known for creating musical collages of wide genre styles. Today, he musically encompasses folk, funk, soul, hip hop, electronic, alternative rock, country, and psychedelia. He has released 13 studio albums, as well as several non-album singles and a book of sheet music.

Jason Falkner is an American songwriter, musician, and guitarist. Active since the late 1980s, he has performed with several bands, including Jellyfish and the Three O'Clock. In addition to releasing several albums as a solo artist, he is a prolific session musician and producer who has contributed to dozens of other recordings by other bands and musicians.

<i>Pride and Glory</i> (film) 2008 film by Gavin OConnor

Pride and Glory is a 2008 American crime drama film directed by Gavin O'Connor. It stars Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, and Noah Emmerich. The film was released on October 24, 2008, in the United States.

The recording of Pugwash's third album Jollity began after Walsh contacted Dave Gregory of XTC through a friend to ask Gregory to write a string arrangement for a song called "A Rose in a Garden of Weeds". Impressed with the demos Walsh sent him, Gregory readily agreed. Walsh then contacted The Section Quartet, with whom he had previously performed in Dublin, about playing the arrangements and the quartet agreed to a recording session at Studio Two in London's Abbey Road Studios. Gregory was invited to conduct the quartet during the sessions. Gregory also wrote the string arrangement for the song I Want You Back in My Life which appeared on Jollity. This led to Gregory introducing Walsh to Andy Partridge, following which Partridge went on to co-write the song "Anchor" with Walsh. The album would also feature contributions from US artists Eric Matthews, Graham Hopkins (ex-Therapy?), Johnny Boyle (The Frames), Duncan Maitland (formerly of Picturehouse) and Tosh Flood (of Irish band Saville), among others.

<i>Jollity</i> 2005 studio album by Pugwash

Jollity is the third studio album by Irish pop band Pugwash. It was released in Ireland by 1969 Records on 23 September 2005 and in Australia by Karmic Hit later the same year. It was released in the UK on 31 October 2006. Two singles were released from the album: "It's Nice to Be Nice" and "This Could Be Good".

Dave Gregory (musician) British musician

David Charles Gregory is an English guitarist from Swindon, best known for his work with the rock band XTC. He was a member of the group between the albums Drums and Wires (1979) and Nonsuch (1992), contributing guitar, keyboards, and occasional string arrangements.

The Section Quartet is a string quartet founded by Eric Gorfain that performs cover versions of rock songs.

Jollity was released on 1969 Records in Ireland on 23 September 2005, and on Karmic Hit in Australia on 10 October 2005. It was met with numerous glowing reviews. [8] [9] [10] [11]

In mid-2006, Pugwash was invited by radio DJ Rick O'Shea to take part in a fund-raising concert in aid of Brainwave, the Irish epilepsy association. While the concert subsequently fell through, Walsh decided to record a charity Christmas single in aid of the association. Walsh invited Eric Matthews, Dave Gregory, Mundy and Dave Couse to take part in the recording of the single. He also contacted Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, and Hannon's contribution became the first of many collaborations between him and Walsh. [12] The track "Tinsel and Marzipan" was released under the Pugwash & Friends moniker in December 2006, and reached number 23 in the Irish charts.

Walsh announced he had started recording the follow-up to Jollity in May 2007 and that Keith Farrell and Johnny Boyle were returning as bassist/engineer and drummer respectively, while Stephen Farrell was also assisting. Later that month he revealed the working title of the album was 11 Modern Antiquities and that Neil Hannon was taking part in the recording sessions. Towards the end of the year, the band posted rough versions of a number of tracks and revealed the album was due to be released in February 2008. That date was eventually pushed back to 23 March. The album once again featured contributions from Jason Falkner, Dave Gregory, Eric Matthews, Tosh Flood and The Section Quartet and also included Brian Wilson collaborator Nelson Bragg, acclaimed US singer-songwriter 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, accompanied by digital download releases of Almond Tea, Almanac and Jollity. A planned expanded CD re-release of Eleven Modern Antiquities was due for release in 2010, but did not materialise. 2011 saw the dissolution of the Pugwash/Ape House contract and its releases withdrawn and deleted.

Following a hiatus during which Walsh recorded and toured as The Duckworth Lewis Method with Neil Hannon and also signed a worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV, Walsh announced in August 2010 that a fifth Pugwash album was in progress. The first single from the new album, "Answers on a Postcard", was released in June 2011 to coincide with the announcement that Pugwash had signed to EMI Ireland for the release of the new collection, titled The Olympus Sound .

Pugwash's line-up had now settled as a quartet, featuring Walsh, Tosh Flood, Shaun McGee and Joe Fitzgerald. The Olympus Sound featured guest appearances from Neil Hannon, Dave Gregory and Andy Partridge, as well as US singer Ben Folds on piano. It was released in August 2011 on EMI in Ireland and in March 2012 on Lojinx in the UK & Europe.

A second Duckworth Lewis Method album, Sticky Wickets was released in July 2013, featuring guest performances from Stephen Fry and Daniel Radcliffe, and the band supported Matt Berry on a UK tour. As newer fans of the band emerged, unable to obtain the early material, for limited periods during 2013 and 2014 followers of Walsh's Facebook page were given the opportunity to purchase a limited edition 15th anniversary re-release of Almond Tea (featuring new artwork), plus home-made reprint editions of Almanac (housed in surplus packaging left over from its 2002 release). September 2014 saw a US deal with Omnivore Recordings and a new compilation, A Rose In A Garden Of Weeds: A Preamble Through The History Of Pugwash, bringing the band to the North American market for the first time. A new album Play This Intimately As If Among Friends was released on September 4, 2015.

In 2017 Walsh disbanded the group line-up and returned to being a solo artist under the Pugwash moniker. Walsh announced the seventh album would be recorded in Los Angeles with Jason Falkner in the producer chair. Lojinx released the first single The Perfect Summer on September 15th and second single What Are You Like on October 27th. The album, titled Silverlake, followed on November 24. [13] .


Studio albums

Live albums



From Almond Tea:

From Almanac:

From Jollity:

As 'Pugwash and Friends':

From Eleven Modern Antiquities:

From The Olympus Sound:

From Silverlake:


The Olympus Sound was nominated for the Choice Music Prize in January 2012. [14]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2012The Olympus SoundIrish Album of the Year 2011Nominated

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