Dublin’s Pugwash return with their sixth studio release to date, ‘Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)’ which offers their style of pop songs in the form of an easy to listen to album.

It may take a couple listens, though. At first, the album can feel like it’s a tribute to bands like The Beach Boys because the influences are so clearly visible. Paying homage to bands that influence you is not a bad thing at all, but when it starts to sound like an imitation, that’s where the problem starts. With songs like Silly Love bordering on repetitive and unimaginative, the album has its let downs. Similarly We Are Everywhere is just as repetitive and dreary, and seems a funny choice to end the album on, leaving the listener with a slightly bad taste in their mouth.

There are definitely highlights, such as Hung Myself Out To Dry, a straight up pop song which is catchy and melodic. Along with songs like Lucky In Every Way, they show the innocence of the love songs that Thomas Walsh is writing. The love songs on the album are sickly sweet, simple and sincere. That being said, the latter song is verging on having overly gushing lyrics, such as “Even though I stopped looking/ I’m so lucky I found her/Lucky in every way/ We had a wondrous winter/ Lying, laughing in the lair/ Pinch me! I need reality/ How could this happen to me/ I’m so lucky that I found her.”

It feels as if a bit lines such as “We had a wondrous winter” were just thrown in their to fill some space as they don’t really seem to fit in, and the “Pinch me! I need reality” line is incredibly cringeworthy and cliched. However, perhaps for someone who is not as much of a cynic, there could be something quite sweet about the track.

Songs such as this happen to be the highlights of the release and show where the band thrives: simple, happy, catchy love songs. ‘Simple’ in that the songs are far from groundbreaking, they do not push any boundaries or bring anything incredibly exciting to the table, but in their simplicity they show what they do best, that is to say: pop music.

‘Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)’ is a ‘nice’ album to listen to, it’s incredibly easy to listen to and has some very catchy and interesting moments. Unfortunately, though, these moments are slightly too far apart and interspersed with unoriginality and monotony to truly call this album a complete success. The album is, however, safe and simple, enjoyable and is definitely far from a disappointment. Therefore, the album is pretty much in the middle of the two – it’s far from outstanding but definitely still worth a listen and a fair chance.

 

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