After only releasing an EP and a couple of singles, Pronto Mama have made a name for themselves in the Glasgow gig scene as a funky, incessantly cool experience. The noise from Any Joy has a cool punk dive bar on jazz night feel about it, seeping cool, like Cowboy Bebop in stereo. The lyrics are reminscent of a lot of current big Scottish folk bands such as Admiral Fallow and Frightened Rabbit, stripped back and dirty to boot.
While the album does have a kind of dreamy, starry-eyed quality to it, Any Joy does flirt with some really meaty hard rock vibes, with some tracks sounding very Biffy Clyro–esque in the drums and guitars. One of these tracks is easily Double Speak which gets right into it with fast hard drums, and a nice rhythm guitar sound. This track is also the best example of the Scottish-ness of the album, an aspect hard to quantify, but clear where it is: lyrics like “Some cunts get aw the birds, aw the luck, get yer top button up man,” have an undebatable Glasgow quality, but also a very youthful feeling to them.
In that aspect, the album does deal a little with being dejected and young. releaset released from the album, Arabesque; this tune is almost anthemic in the way it picks apart a relationship making it fantastically relatable and a perfect coming of age song. It does go over some tropes of young men not understanding women, and being stubborn, but strips them down to their most base, and uses them wonderfully. “This time I was half right, I’ll just act like I never knew you,” is a lyric that many listeners will see as something in themselves, a kind of situation where someone knows more than you, let’s you know it, but it doesn’t matter. “I always feel a little, and you never lose, you’re so intelligent I feel irrelevant.” is a standout example lyric-wise that gives a glimpse into something that might not be as hunky dory as it looks; this song, and this lyric especially showcases the bands song writing prowess.
There are few complaints that can be launched at the album as it is a solid debut album and a huge accomplishment for an indie band. The only thing that could be said is sometimes the overlapping orchestral barbershop feel results in some of the strong instrumentals on the tracks being overshadowed.
All in all, Any Joy is a must listen if you’re looking for something different to widen your palette: it’s a fun, bright album, which upon its end begs to be started again, right from track one, for another go around. The only question one might have for the album is what is to be expected next from Pronto Mama.