Damn, do Pugwash want to be hip! “Giddy” comes off as a band that Brit rags like Melody Maker love, the kind that spout off about their genius way before they come close to proving it. It is ironic that they record for Andy Partridge’s Ape House, since AP has traditionally held no quarter for posers, though the band in question are semi-posers. A little less self-hype and this could be a hot, gritty pop band.
The road to imagined stardom here is power pop, and to be fair Pugwash have a knack for tight little riffs, and choruses that linger. Vocalist Thomas Walsh also writes the lyrics, so both the hot licks and out of place boasting fall at his feet. songs like “Apples,” “Cluster Bomb” and “Mono Rail” are short, memorable bursts of guitar-pop glory, whereas “Black Dog,” “Two Wrongs” and “My Genius” are examples of riffs that sound formulaic, and with lyrics that limply proclaim prowess—cool for throwing around some Craic at the bar, but not effective here.
“Giddy” collects the cream of the band’s many Irish-only releases (the band has been around since 1999). Already the recipients of BUZZ on the continent, Pugwash will probably have its moment here too, given their precise ear for the right sound. Whether they can sustain deeper scrutiny will be shown later. 6/10 -- Mike Wood (14 October, 2009)