Pugwash: Giddy

RIYL: XTC, The Kinks, The Beach Boys

It’s hard to believe that a band as talented as Dublin’s Pugwash could have such a low profile in a post-MySpace world – though if we’re being honest, that band name is doing them no favors whatsoever – but expect that to change post haste. Thomas Walsh, lead singer and songwriter for Pugwash, was recently showered with accolades for his work in the Duckworth Lewis Method, a concept album about cricket that Walsh assembled with Divine Comedy singer Neil Hannon. Leave it to the band’s new label head Andy Partridge to strike while the iron is hot with Giddy, a collection of the finest moments from Pugwash’s first four albums. You can tell what Partridge sees in the band – namely, himself. “Song for You” is a dead ringer for Apple Venus-era XTC, and “Apples” is about as perfect a pop song as you’ll find. The unstoppably sunny “It’s Nice to Be Nice” will make Brian Wilson shed tears of joy, but the band isn’t stuck mining ’60s pop gold; “Monorail” out-Beck’s Beck, and look for Kelly Jones and the Stereophonics to cover “Finer Things in Life” in the near future.

Even better, Giddy features material from the band’s forthcoming album Eleven Modern Antiquities, and if the groovy “My Genius” is any indication (that has to be Hannon on backing vocals), it looks as though Pugwash are just getting warmed up. Pardon the cliché, but this is the best pop band you’ve never heard. (Ape House 2009)

Pugwash MySpace page
Click to buy Giddy from Amazon