Pugwash and Sloan

Pugwash

Pugwash “A Rose In A Garden Of Weeds: A Preamble Through The History Of Pugwash”

It isn’t news to most power pop fans that Pugwash is the one of the best bands in Ireland. The band has made the commitment to visit the US on tour this October and it only makes sense to release a great retrospective for the occasion. Lead by the talented multi-instrumentalist Thomas Walsh, the band is the sonic heir to both Electric Light Orchestra and XTC.  The pedigree is further burnished, as Andy Partridge and Dave Gregory have assisted the band on occasion. But you’ll also hear other influences from The Byrds and Beach Boys to Paul McCartney. Pugwash has made six five albums to date (not counting compilations), and each one is represented here with care to showcase the bands incredible versatility and melodic skills.

If you’ve never heard the band before (shame on you) this is a chance to redeem yourself and get all the good tracks in one neat little package. On CD it includes some detailed history, liner notes and photos in the enclosed booklet. And if you are really looking for a treat,  you’ll see this band live – here are the latest tour dates. Definitely, this gets my vote for best single band retrospective album of 2014.

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Sloan

Sloan “Commonwealth”

Toronto-based quartet Sloan has been playing the most consistent quality power pop for over 20 years, and longer than any other band (still active) in the genre. After the career nadir which was 2011’s Double Cross, the band does something off the beaten path once again. This 15-song collection sees Sloan creating one of the most ambitious recordings of their career. Like the touchstone LP Never Hear The End of It, you’ve got a pile of great tracks and like The Beatles’ White Album, each band member creates a unique album section with its own layered personality.

You can listen to one of my favorite tracks below, Jay Ferguson’s “Three Sisters,” with its winding bass lead and delicate harmonies. I go into detail on each section of the album, as this review continues on The Seattle Post-Intelligencer website.

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One thought on “Pugwash and Sloan

  1. RE:Pugwash

    Six albums? I count five, so what am I missing?

    Can’t quibble with the content though. This is a band I have been incessantly talking up for years now. My hope is that this compilation is but a preview from Omnivore. Up to now, only The Olympus Sound has been on vinyl, and only in Europe. A full-fledged catalogue release in the U.S. is in order.

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