A dark yet delicious blend of brooding indie and nocturnal grooves.
For a “new” band, Pumarosa have been around for quite a while. Tipped this time last year for big things, the London five-piece have instead spent most of 2016 honing their sound, distilling their material, and becoming one of the capital’s most potent live acts. Built around multi-talented front woman Isabel Munoz-Newsome – a former professional dancer and theatre-set designer –, the band have one foot in post-punk’s storied past and the other firmly planted in pop’s present; soaring choruses and earworm melodies are just two of the weapons they deploy to devastating effect.
But there are dark, knotty grooves behind all the angular guitars, and a bubbling tension that threatens to break the surface at any moment. All of this comes together beautifully in ‘Priestess’, their seven-minute magnum opus that builds towards a saxophone-laden, funk-heavy climax. The video, self-produced and featuring Munoz-Newsome’s sister, also a professional dancer, is equally as impressive; the fluid movements suggest the restlessness of the city, and the personal freedom embodied by physical expression.
Everything swirls around Munoz-Newsome, who combines the poise of Jehnny Beth with the power of Alison Mosshart. The dynamic is one of controlled anguish, and while the band sound at ease flitting around her, it’s when her guitar piles in that things get truly interesting. All in all, it’s a heady, seductive mix, as well as proof that brains are all well and good, but sometimes a little brawn can go a very long way indeed.