Unless you’re a hardcore guitar pop fan with the inclination to track rare imports or have spent some time overseas, chances are Irish outfit Pugwash are a mystery to you. To date, the Thomas Walsh-fronted band’s albums have only been available outside of North America and many are now out of print. The fine folks at Omnivore are doing their best to bring Pugwash to American audiences with the release of compilation album “A Rose in a Garden of Weeds.”
“(I am) so very, very proud to be releasing a career retrospective on the beautiful Omnivore record label,” Walsh says. “My pride will never wane when people I admire come along and have faith in my songs. America we love you. We hope, in time and song, that you’ll love us, too.”
This terrific gathering of 17 tunes serves an introduction to all things Pugwash, with material culled from 1999’s “Almond Tea … As Served By Pugwash” clear through to 2011’s “The Olympus Sound.” It’s a nice cross-section of tunes showcasing Walsh’s first-rate songwriting and I wouldn’t be surprised if the record will prompt you to track down Pugwash’s earlier stuff.
You won’t go wrong with standout tracks like “Take Me Away,” “Finer Things in Life,” “Shine on Norvell Jefferson,” “Two Wrongs,” the title track, “Fall Down,” “Answers on a Postcard,” “Apples” and “Be My Friend Awhile.” It’s time we all got to know — and enjoy — Pugwash. (Jeffrey Sisk)