If Brit Awards were handed out to Best Kept Secrets or Lamentably Lost Legends, Pugwash wouldn’t be able to move under the weight of their gongs. In the 20 years since the Irish band was formed by Thomas Walsh – an ELO, XTC and Beach Boys nut from Drimnagh, south Dublin – their reputation has grown by stealth and they’ve caught the attention of almost all of Walsh’s musical heroes, but mainstream success has remained frustratingly, tantalisingly just out of reach. Well if it’s ever going to happen, it’s now, with the release of their seventh studio album Silverlake. It’s not only Thomas’s best body of work to date, but an album which leaves you marvelling at how effortlessly he can conjure up so many heavenly pop gems after all these years. Silverlake differs from recent Pugwash albums in one major respect: it’s essentially a collaboration between two men – Thomas and Jason Falkner. (The four-piece who recorded 2011’s Top 20 The Olympus Sound and 2015’s Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends) has now disbanded). As a former member of Jellyfish, respected solo artist, and musician, Falkner - who’s worked with everyone from Paul McCartney to Air - is another underrated artist with a hugely loyal international following. For fans of these two cult heroes (and there are plenty) this promised to be a dream ticket…and it delivers in droves. Recorded in Falkner’s LA studio earlier this year, Thomas wrote all 11 songs, arranged them, and played acoustic guitar. Jason played everything else (except the strings), sang backing vocals and recorded / produced. The result is a classy pop-rock feast featuring Walsh’s endlessly hooky melodies and Falkner’s unmistakeable sonic footprint. Opening with the irresistible single The Perfect Summer and closing with the Beach Boys / ELO homage Autarch, Silverlake wears its collaborators’ passion for pop perfection on its sleeve which, at the very least, will consolidate Pugwash’s standing in the eyes of those Thomas most admires.
LP - Heavyweight Black Vinyl LP.
LP+ - Heavyweight Limited Blue Vinyl LP.
CD - Gatefold Softpack CD with Bonus Track.