Irish icons Pugwash finally get U.S. release with ‘Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)

Pugwash‘Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)’
Pugwash (Omnivore)
3.5 stars out of 5

Indie pop/rock band Pugwash have long been one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. Despite a handful of well-received albums to their credit since 1999, the Thomas Walsh-fronted band remained pretty much unknown to American audiences as none of those records were available in North America. That changed last year when Omnivore released Pugwash career retrospective “A Rose in a Garden of Weeds.” For the first time, U.S. listeners got a chance to see what the fuss was all about.

Pugwash CDThe band’s new studio effort, the good-but-not-quite-great “Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)” is getting much-deserved worldwide release. It’s an enjoyable 12-track release that has Walh & Co. excited about broadening their fan base.

“I, we, us, them, those do solemnly swear to smile every time we realize that we’re releasing our first-ever ‘new’ album with Omnivore Recordings on Sept. 4 in the U.S. of actual A,” Walsh quips. “I still have to pinch my slabs of flesh to believe it. But you know … we’re not half bad. Long live pop.

Opener “Kicking and Screaming: is a terrific lid-lifter, but Pugwash spin their wheels a little with middling tunes “Lucky in Every Way” and “Just So You Know.” Happily they regain their bearing about midway through the record and close things out with keepers “The Fool I Had Become,” “Hung Myself Out to Dry,” “Silly Love” and set closer “We Are Everywhere.” (Jeffrey Sisk)

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