Glasgow six-piece Pronto Mama are not a band to walk the narrow line of a single genre, and their latest single ‘Arabesque’, released on prestigious college label Electric Honey, glides effortlessly through a series of musical postures, revealing a new maturity to their sound.
’Arabesque’ is light on its feet, at once lackadaisically smooth and tightly held; it shirks the band’s occasional flirt with raucous, looser vocals and jagged guitars to develop the dance of strong melodies, funky rhythms, twinkling synths and layered brass previously set out by the likes of ‘Rubber’ and ‘Still Swimming’.
It’s a perfect showcase for the band’s playful postmodern collage of funk, indie, post-rock and art-punk combined with a sincere commitment to their sound and lyrics which couple witty banter with earnest pop licks and devastating poetic quips: “a weekend ballerina / starved herself just to fill her shoes”.
The track opens with mellow eighties synths, then vocals which take on a deeper melodic resonance, complementing spiky bursts of brass and rococo percussion.
Lyrically, ‘Arabesque’ deals with the turbulent uncertainty of a relationship, the back and forth struggle for communication: “Last night brought by new tides / back to front and side to side / speaking feels uneasy / we’re not seeing eye to eye”.
Musically, this flipping of perspectives and sense of missed connection is rendered with syncopated rhythms, a skipped beat, the sharing of lead vocals between Ciaran McEneny and Marc Rooney; then there’s the transition between melodic drawls and more staccato deliveries, falling over fluent trombone and trumpet flourishes and coalescing in a satisfying multi-instrumental solo.
There’s something of The Rapture’s disco-ready cowbell indie to this release, combined with a palpable Glaswegian twang and unabashed melancholy: “I canny wait for a rainy day / so you can feel this blue / I didn’t really want to leave you”.
I first caught Pronto Mama playing a lively set at last year’s Òran Mór’s West End Festival All Dayer and if this release is anything to go by, the band’s upcoming album should deliver an equal degree of eclectic energy along with increasingly intricate rhythms and vocal gymnastics.
Words: Maria Sledmere