Hot on the heels of the recently re-released extended play Lickety Split, Glasgow six-piece Pronto Mama return with Niche Market, their latest offering for Instinctive Racoon.
It’s a record brimming with ideas and energy, and when Marc Rooney bellows “I’m gonnae have some fun with you…” on penultimate track ‘Surrogate’, it serves as a mission statement for this mischievously titled collection (it’s only niche if indie-jazz-thrash pop is the flavour of the week), that’s as uninhibited as it is adventurous.
Something so varied is bound to have highs and lows but Niche Market hits the target more often than not.
‘Remission’ in particular is excellent, one part hooks and handclaps, one part gorgeous climactic soundscape that recalls the eccentric pop of Mystery Jets and Beirut, while the acid jazz of ‘Rubber’, released as a single back in the summer of 2003, unravels to reveal the strongest chorus of the EP.
Elsewhere there’s a frenetic, percussive energy to final two tracks ‘You’re Only Human’ and the aforementioned ‘Surrogate’ that shows Pronto Mama at their unpredictable best, the latter effortlessly disregards any generic pop convention, throwing around tempo changes and some fantastic food-centric wordplay that Stephen Malkmus would be proud of, “I’ll have the humble pie, it’s just desserts”.
Opening track ‘Goose Steps’ doesn’t quite hit those lofty heights, it’s comparatively summery pop broken up by a slightly laboured instrumental break that is the only misstep on the record, despite this it’s not a weak track by any stretch of the imagination, as a curtain raiser it provides plenty evidence that Rooney has a great turn of phrase and set of pipes.
There’s never a dull moment here and Pronto Mama aren’t about to be pigeonholed by anyone, Niche Market is a very strong record and having already established a formidable live reputation this release is another step in the right direction, onwards and upwards, to be sure.
Words: Craig J. Angus