“Nothing’s really real” sums up the feel of Pronto Mama’s new release Any Joy; the self-described “post-modern bug-eyed beatnik group” believe in “a dirty dedication to song writing”.
The sextet, consisting of Marc Rooney, Ciaran McEneny, Martin Johnston, Michael Griffin, Craig McMahon and Alex Sharples, display an array of musical talent; each member playing at least two instruments.
You could almost start to think that this album is going to be a little chaotic, yet with a sharp tongue the lyrics are bold, and the music is a beautiful concoction of sounds with each track having a story to tell and it’s own unique character.
‘Bottom Feeder’ is solemn and sincere, it’s softness glides on alternating guitar notes while the vocals bring a solid tone.
‘Cold Arab Spring’ in contrast literally bounces along with beats that make your feet want to move, like when you’re walking outside with your headphones in and you so desperately want to break into a dance.
This sets the tone for ‘Arabesque’, which is less playful but still dance worthy; it’s an amalgamation of funk and Scottish indie vocals, then you’re taken by surprise by a little droplet of synth in the final bridge and the outro; it almost shouldn’t work, but Pronto Mama nail this one.
‘Rubber’ is a little smoother but still continuing with a funk feel, it’s gutsy and the vocals are frank, the echoing of lyrics in the final build up carries you forward to the climax before slowly leading you to a final solitary guitar melody.
‘Double-Speak’ offers a lovely exhibition of the band’s vocal range and capacity for composition, while ‘One Trick Pony’ is more dissonant and rhythmically antagonistic; it doesn’t follow convention in any way and this is what makes Pronto Mama a genuinely unique contribution to the Glasgow music scene.
They have established their own sound and are able to exhibit their extensive musical ability by pushing the boundaries of various genres.
Similarly ‘Sentiment’ introduces a new feel with acapella singing, the harmonies are on point and the finger snaps just enough to keep the rhythm.
‘All Your Insides’ is less contemplative and more light-hearted to begin, again the addition of brass gives this track a unique feel, but there’s still a lot of heart here.
This band’s lyrics tell it like it is, they don’t hold back and ‘The Deserter’ is no exception; their words are unapologetic and this is given more emphasis by the addition of colloquial slang.
This is continued in ‘Bully March’ and ‘You’re Only Human’, the latter demonstrating an acceptance of all things different, which is represented in their eclectic amalgamation of genres.
‘Bennie’ is more retrospective, and religion appears to be a consistent topic of the tracks; taking a hard look at life, contemplating loneliness and life.
There’s so much being offered in Any Joy you need not look any further for a truly fulfilling album.
‘Memory Song’ is a suitable end to the story, a subtle contrast but still true to spirit.
Pronto Mama share a wealth of expertise and wisdom in their latest release. It’s a break from the norm and a gem to find.
Words: Rachel Cunningham