Pronto Mama – Any Joy

Album Review by Megan Wallace | 27 Apr 2017
Album title: Any Joy
Artist: Pronto Mama
Label: Electric Honey
Release date: 5 May

On their first full-length album, Any Joy, Pronto Mama deliver a potent blend of eclectic instrumentation and soulful lyrics. The unusual time signatures on tracks like Rubber and One Trick Pony call to mind left-of-centre indie bands like Bombay Bicycle Club but the album is anything but derivative, delivering the distinctive Pronto Mama sound as showcased on earlier EPs Lickety Split and Niche Market.

There’s a lot going on, what with six band members and a plethora of instrumental sounds including full-bodied brass, intricate drumming and subtle synths. Despite what one might expect, these different elements work well together. Each track is tight and well-honed and the group show that they can deliver something more pared-back with the a cappella harmonies of Sentiment.  

Sentiment is certainly a bit different from most of the tracks on the album, but the material is diverse throughout and ranges from the upbeat Arabesque to the more introspective Bottom Feeder. However, the strong vocals from principal singers Marc Rooney and Ciaran McEneny are a consistent feature running throughout the album, creating a sense of cohesion between tracks. 

Another highlight (besides the supple, Glaswegian-accented vocals) are the lyrics. Thoughtful and humorous in equal measure, verses draw on spoken-word to offer the listener a new way of viewing the world around them. Songwriters Rooney and McEneny have a talent for painting character within a short space and the line 'Weeping ballerina, starved herself just to fill her shoes' from Arabesque is testament to this ability. Choruses are pop-infused, designed to get you dancing and you can imagine they'll be particularly rousing played live. 

Any Joy is a brilliant debut and one that should be listened to on repeat.

Listen to: Arabesque, Sentiment, All Your Insides