Friday, 21 August 2015

Review: Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends) (Pugwash)

A masterful return: "Play This Intimately [As If Among Friends]" by Pugwash
#957: Hello ... Hello ... my old friends ... It's great to see you once again! A few months ago if you had asked me how Pugwash could follow up "The Olympus Sound", Yours Truly KJS would have answered (on a postcard, naturally): "With great difficulty!" Yet, the four (4) year wait for their latest accomplishment "Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)" is more than satisfied within the first few chords of opener "Kicking And Screaming". And it gets better the deeper you delve into this lush effort.

With major nods to their musical heroes Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartneyThe BeatlesThe Idle Race, The KinksThe Beach Boys and Roy Orbison (and not a few others), founder Thomas Walsh has delivered another wonderful LP of varied musical styles replete with infectious melodies, luscious lyrical content and velvety harmonies with a little help from his good friends Tosh Flood, Joe Fitzgerald and Shaun McGee.

"If their 2008 release was fit to be entitled "Eleven Modern Antiquities", then this opus could easily be named "Twelve Modern Classics"

There is no weak link (trax that fill out a release to add VFM if nothing else) here, the variety and class of this recording mean that you are instantly enthused. If their 2008 release was fit to be entitled "Eleven Modern Antiquities", then this opus could easily be named "Twelve Modern Classics".  We are greeted with the raucous and infectious "Kicking And Screaming" which is perfectly balanced by the next offering, the sentimental and sublime "Lucky In Every Way" (deserving of being a single).

"Feed His Heart With Coal" is very much reminiscent of "Cluster Bomb" - and just as infectious - followed as it is by "Just So You Know" with its inherent James Bond themed undercurrent and sultry guitar work. "The Fool I Had Become" - showcased during their recent UK tour - is marvellous and demonstrates not only the pure vocal gifting that Tom Walsh possesses in abundance but also the immense creativity of the band as a unit. I can hear The Fab Four and The Kinks within "You Could Always Cry" too. Another modern Pugwash classic is surely "Hung Myself Out To Dry" with fantastic vocal arrangements that Jeff Lynne would be proud of. I'm sure that I can hear his voice on this one!
Pugwash in intimate CD and vinyl cinemascope
There is very definitely a Macca quality to the ultra warm "Silly Love" and "All The Way From Love" is a song that oozes Roy Orbison. It could easily could be a "Mystery Girl" or Traveling Wilburys track. It's that good and one that reduced this writer to tears upon first listen.

If I haven't mentioned the other superb songs, it's because I've run out of applicable adjectives! Bravo Thomas Walsh, Bravo Pugwash. This is a measured, mature record and as intimate and honest an album that I've ever had the pleasure of reviewing. The wait for Pugwash VI was well worth it. Take it from me, an honest album review should (a) be of few words and (b) leave you ready to press the 'Buy Now' button and/or rush to your nearest retailer. I hope that you do soon. You won't be disappointed. (10/10)
An intimate listening experience with Pugwash
Trax: "Kicking And Screaming" (3:20) ~ "Lucky In Every Way" (3:05) ~ "Feed His Heart With Coal" (3:07) ~ "Just So You Know" (4:24) ~ "Clouds" (2:45) ~ "The Fool I Had Become" (4:13) ~ "You Could Always Cry" (2:58) ~ "Hung Myself Out To Dry" (3:45) ~ "Silly Love" (3:46) ~ "Oh Happy Days"  (2:24) ~ "All The Way From Love" (2:59) ~ "We Are Everywhere" (5:30) ~ Total Running Time: 43:16

"Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)" by Pugwash also features Jeff Lynne, Ray Davies, Andy Partridge and Neil Hannon and will be released by Omnivore Recordings in download, CD and limited edition translucent red vinyl formats on Friday 4th September. You can pre-order and/or buy this new Pugwash album via these links thus:

ELO Beatles Forever (ELOBF) recommends "Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)" by Pugwash to those enlightened folks who enjoy the music of ELO/Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, The Move, The Idle Race, 'Brum Beat', The Beatles and related artistes.

Until next "Time" in the ELO (and related) Universe ... KJS ... 21-Aug-2015


  1. Great review. I agree that it gets better the deeper you delve into it. And I appreciate your word "nod" to his (Thomas Walsh) heroes. They are nods wrapped in Thomas' originality. My fave is still Oh Happy Days...but all these great songs work together so well. - Les Gripkey

  2. Another good review as normal good buddy.

    1. As with all things Pugwash on 'ere, my thanx to your good self for the introduction and recommendation! KJS@ELOBF

  3. Great record. Great showmen.