11 Modern Antiquities.
THE STATE - April '08
There’s a lot of attention given to what’s become known as the “difficult second album”. In reality, things don’t get any easier with the third, or in Pugwash’s case, the fourth. Following 2005’s JOLLITY was a big undertaking, yet Thomas Walsh has made it sound like one he has relished. In fact, 11 MODERN ANTIQUITIES is an album that has such an array of qualities, that it’s easy to overlook some of them.
The single TAKE ME AWAY opens proceedings, featuring a bassline that almost steals the limelight all to itself. As you move deeper into the album, it evokes images of many of Pugwash’s heroes and influences, a number of whom are guests and co-writers (XTC’s Dave Gregory and Andy Partridge, Jason Falkner and Michael Penn, to name but four).
Many of the ideas aren’t what you’d class as groundbreaking, but it’s the manner in which they are delivered that is truly remarkable. IT’S SO FINE and LANDSDOWNE VALLEY draw your mind back to decades past, and would sit perfectly well with the best that those years had to offer. Forgive STATE for using the “O” word, but if Noel Gallagher wrote songs like these, he might manage to drag Oasis from the creative doldrums that they’ve been inhabiting for the past decade. The point cant be made any other way; 11 MODERN ANTIQUITIES is a triumph.
Take Me Away - PUGWASH
Hot Press - 22th Feb '08
We need some musical jollity to usher in the spring, and who better to provide it than Crumlin's answer to Lennon, McCartney, Wilson, Partridge and any other jangly giant you'd care to mention. This is the first single off their upcoming Eleven Modern Antiquities album, and it makes you realize that Oasis have been wasting everybody's time for the past 10 years.
JOLLITY - PUGWASH
Hot Press - 19th October '05
In a parallel universe, Pugwash mainmain Thomas Walsh is a living legend, regularly enjoying heavy radio rotation the world over, massive record sales and as widely respected as somebody like Ian Broudie, Neil Finn or Stephen Malkmus. In our world, however, somehow Walsh's gorgeously melodic songs about love and loss have slipped under the collective radar. Always critically acclaimed, his compositions have bizarrely failed to create more than a minor ripple in the general consciousness.
REVIEW OF JOLLITY
THE TICKET (IRISH TIMES) - September 16th '05
The third album by Beach Boys-worshipping Beatlemaniac Thomas Walsh is, like Almanac and Almond Tea, packed with clearly signposted pop hooks that call to mind everything from High Llamas to XTC to The Lightening Seeds' similarly-titled Jollification. Walsh, however, has learned to get beyond his more obvious influences and stride into reflective territory of his own. I Want You Back in My Life opens with an Imagine-type piano, but builds nicely into something more than a mere Oasis tribute. Black Dog blows up into a ferocious trumpet-led groove, and Even I grabs a snatch Suede's Animal Nitrate and mellows it down with some sitar-guitar. Walsh's wordplay is impeccable on Poles Together, A Rose in a Garden of Woods and the final track, Anchor, co-written with none other Andy Partridge of XTC.
DAVE COUSE AND THE IMPOSSIBLE/PUGWASH - THE SPIRIT STORE, DUNDALK
The Irish Times - September 16th '05
A value-for-money double bill is all-too-rare these days, so when you have Ireland's most acerbic songwriter (Dave Couse) twinned with its best exponent of power pop (Pugwash) you'd be something of a village idiot to stay at home. Pugwash is something of a slimmed down affair tonight, with just main singer and songwriter Thomas Walsh strumming guitar, playing songs from his two previous albums, Almond Tea and Almanac, and previewing tracks from his new record, Jollity.