a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


Pugwash in an Irish power-pop band lead by Thomas Walsh.

Pugwash was founded in the early nineties, and recorded several demos from 1992 to 1995. In 1997, Pugwash signed to Vélo Records as a three-piece band composed of Thomas Walsh, Keith Farrell (bass) and Johnny Boyle (drums).
Together, and with the help of some musicians including Stephen Farrell (Keith’s brother, guitar), Picturehouse’s Duncan Maitland (keyboards) and Geoff Woods (cello), they produced their debut album Almond Tea (1999). Soon followed by Almanac (2002) which features contribution by Shaun McGee, as well as a new drummer, Aidan O’Grady.

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Almanac was followed by a release of the Earworm compilation (2003) by Australian label Karmic Hit.

An important move to Pugwash was to set up with Daragh Bohan the label 1969 Records which would release their subsequent material.

The third album, Jollity (2005) involved many people including The Section Quartet which was conducted by Dave Gregory of XTC; Dave also introduced Andy Partridge to the band, who co-wrote a song with Thomas. Other new musicians were Graham Hopkins (of Therapy?), Eric Matthews and Tosh Flood (of Saville).
One of the singles, It’s Nice To Be Nice, get to the ears of Brian Wilson, as his manager David Leaf made it the Smile’s tour bus album of choice. [1]

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In 2006, Pugwash released a Christmas charity single for the Brainwave association. The single involved Dave Gregory, but also Dave Couse (of A House) and Neil Hannon.

After that, Thomas and his friends started the recording of a new album. The making of the album still involved Dave Gregory, Andy Partridge and Eric Matthews, but also Michael Penn, Nelson Bragg (Brian Wilson…) and Neil Hannon as a session musician. Released in 2008, Eleven Modern Antiquities was soon followed by the single At The Sea which features a cover of Idle Race’s ‘On With The Show’. Actually sharing a love for Jeff Lynne’s music and cricket, Thomas and Neil would then form together The Duckworth Lewis Method which released a first album in 2009.

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The same year, Pugwash also released a best of album, Giddy on Andy Partridge’s label Ape House. Although the band was signed for a longer deal, the contract was subsequently aborted for financial reason [1].

Following the Ivor Novello nomination of The Duckworth Lewis Method, Thomas set up Pugwash back to rails in 2010 with a new line-up featuring Shaun McGee (bass), and former Saville members Tosh Flood (guitars) and Joe Fitzgerald (drums). Together, and with Neil Hannon, their recorded the album The Olympus Sound which also features contributions from Dave Gregory, Andy Partridge and Ben Folds. Produced by Thomas Walsh and Tosh Flood, The Olympus Sound was released in August 2011 on 1969 Records/EMI Ireland, and in March 2012 on Lojinx.

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In Summer 2012 Pugwash and Neil Hannon recorded together a cover of Jimmy Ruffin’s ‘What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted’ for the charity album The Shortest Night; the recording also featured Matt Berry.
In November 2012 the band supported Neil Hannon for his birthday show at the Royal Festival Hall. And in February 2013 Pugwash joined again Neil Hannon as his backing band for his performance at Other Voices Derry.

2013 was a quiet year for Pugwash as Thomas Walsh and Neil Hannon released a second Duckworth Lewis Method album. But late in the year, the band recorded a theme music for the Wildernuts children series, again with the help of Neil Hannon.

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The next years saw Pugwash touring the United States a few times, and recording a new album, Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends), with a few notable guests: Andy Partridge, Neil Hannon, Ray Davies and Jeff Lynne. The album was released by US label Omnivore Recordings; but did not received enough success, which lead the band to part away in 2016. Subsequently, guitarist Tosh Flood joined The Divine Comedy; while Thomas Walsh re-invented Pugwash as a solo project recording an album in collaboration with Jason Falkner (Air, Beck…).

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Silverlake was released in 2017 by Lojinx, and received very positive reviews. To promote the album, Pugwash supported The Divine Comedy in their Irish tour.

[1] Shindig! 26, 2012