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Pugwash - Giddy

Giddy

Pugwash

Ape Records

Available Fall 2009

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Giddy is symphonic folk-pop as it's rarely done. Fortunately, I've lately been going back to the old Beach Boys masterpieces: Pet Sounds, Holland, etc. for a re-appraisal of the era's more unusual trends, and Giddy fits beautifully with the whole time period: Love (Forever Changes), the Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour forward), Todd Rundgren (up to Wizard, True Star), the Zombies (Odyssey & Oracle), the Kinks (Village Green through Preservation Act 2), and the more literately daring composers who were operating to bring a solid new sense of legitimacy to the sound. Well, leave it to XTC's Andy Partridge to locate a band this steeped in the high tradition for his Ape House label, and leave it to Howard Wuelfing to know what that means, PRing it to a milieu much in need of such a brilliantly festooned sense of wonder.

Giddy broadly incorporates some essences of Smashing Pumpkins, Jane's Addiction, and others, but their re-investment of a chance-ily incarnated side-tradition from the Golden Era (mid-60s to mid-70s) is what will draw a flock of ears, especially those of progfans everywhere, 'cause this is indeed pop on the mellow progrock side. Klaatu gave it a great try, Kayak absolutely killed (Phantom of the Night, etc.), Sigmund Snopek ventured thuswards, and Daniel Park (here) very recently issued an odd but beautiful stunner. Pugwash joins them all. The further the CD runs, the more sophisticated it gets. Halfway through, you're drowning in dreamtime symphonies replete with strings, synthesizers, and mellotrons.

This is an Irish ensemble, but they have the Brit and American sounds nailed to the wall in a release that's fully state of the art, their fourth. The band's second release, Jollity\, scored #61 on the list of Top 100 Irish LPs of all time. Reflective of that honor, quite a range of periods is covered in Giddy. Genius, for instance, is a modernized 20s sound cinematographic in its shifting tones, and Black Dog incorporates Tijuana Brass overtones. Sunrise Sunset is a Julia-esque (Beatles) track while Monorail is vaguely Bonzo Dog Band and 10CC-ish by way of Steve Miller. The overriding vibe, as can be seen, is a 60s / 70s grand panoramic sound blown out to the edges of the tradition, and, if there are more than six CDs that have been made like this in the last decade, I'd sure as hell like to know of 'em, 'cause this is damned remarkable.

Oh, and the cover artwork is likewise an eye-catching masterpiece a la a combination of old Drew Struzan, David Anstey, and Joe Petagno.

  • Apples
  • It's Nice to be Nice
  • Song for You
  • 1-Lb. Chocs
  • Anyone Who Asks
  • Cluster Bomb
  • Sunrise Sunset
  • Pillow Cases
  • The Season of Flowers and Leaves
  • Mono-Rail
  • 10 Cigs
  • My Genius
  • Finer Things in Life
  • Black Dog
  • Shopping Bag
  • Two Wrongs
  • Anchor
Sorry, promo disc, no writing credits included (righteous promo, though!).

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 

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