If you love glittering pop melodies, jangling guitars and heartfelt vocals laced with swirling harmonies, you’re probably a power pop fan. Like myself, you most likely dig the music of classic artists like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Beach Boys, The Raspberries, and Big Star, as well as modern-era practitioners of the genre such as Jellyfish, The dBs, Matthew Sweet, The Smithereens, and Kurt Baker. One of my favorite “under the radar” groups working within this beloved pop/rock genre is Ireland’s very own Pugwash, fronted by singer and songwriter extraordinaire Thomas Walsh. The band’s poptastic oeuvre includes earworm-worthy tunes like “Take Me Away,” “Lucky In Every Way,” “The Perfect Summer,” and the marvelous “Fall Down.”
Whether or not you’ve heard the music of Pugwash and Thomas Walsh before, you absolutely need to check out his first solo disc, The Rest Is History, which was just released by Curation Records. It’s a splendid record filled with brilliantly crafted pop tunes such as “Love Is A Circumstance” and “Born of Kamchatka.” These wonderful songs display all the hallmarks of Walsh’s prodigious gifts as a songwriter; sparkling melodies, ingenious lyrics, and outstanding arrangements. The album kicks off with the enchanting pop perfection of “A Good Day For Me,” which Walsh wrote with Neil Hannon, who’s also his cohort in their cricket-themed side project, The Duckworth Lewis Method.
The Rest Is History is bursting at the seams with fabulous pop/rock tunes, ranging from the dreamy, ethereal feeling of “To Be That Child Again” to the jangly pop of “Take Your Time,” a song co-authored by and featuring Michael Penn of “No Myth” fame. If you’re a power pop aficionado, you’ll also enjoy the modern rock vibes of the lovely “Just Another Lesson In Life,” and the kinetic “Everyone Back In The Water.” Then there’s the offbeat, avant-garde flavored “This Is My Fortress,” and the very cool rocker “All This Hurt,” a track that includes backing vocals from none other than Joe Elliot of Def Leppard.
Thomas Walsh is a fantastic performer and songwriter who, throughout his career, has gifted us with an astonishing library of songs filled with insightful lyrics, fantastic pop/rock sounds and something often lacking in today’s music; real emotion and positive energy. While you can hear the influences of bands ranging from The Beatles to ELO and on through to XTC in his music, Walsh’s work shines brightly in its own right. Just listen to the guitar-infused “Man Lies Down Again” and the glorious, string-laden album closer “We Knew,” and you’ll truly understand the breadth and range of his talents. If you’re not already a Thomas Walsh fan, then the excellent The Rest Is History will definitely win you over and make you one.
Fair use image of The Rest Is History