Pumarosa is Isabel Muñoz-Newsome, Nicholas Owen, Tomoya Suzuki and Jamie Neville. Pumarosa’s early singles have pointed to the restless scope of sounds they were to return to the UK with. The motorik, droning expanse of ‘Priestess’, the multi-timbral rock of ‘Honey’, and the alien pop simplicity of ‘Dragonfly’ disclose both far-reaching influences and a need to experiment with form. Isabel’s lyrics are emotionally and politically invested; they deftly paint tales of social coercion, feminine emancipation and the striving for release.
So, this is the third time I’ve seen Pumarosa. The first time was at the Great Escape festival in a cramped (but lovely!) basement. The second was at the Sunrise Arena here last year and, exactly as I and many others predicted, here they are now on the main stage (albeit at the punishing Friday morning slot).
The bassist with the astonishing moustache seems to have been replaced (at least for today). That’s fine. The world needs fewer moustaches.
I really like Pumarosa. Isabel Muñoz-Newsome exudes confidence and charisma, is an awesome dancer, and looks every inch the pop star this morning with the wind in her hair. “Main stage now. No jokes!” she jokes after a slightly awkward joke.
They have a fantastically effective formula where their apparently simple poppy, rhythm-driven songs build steadily to satisfying crescendos, using all of the five-piece in a wonderful blend of noise and beats. Their sound is relatively unchallenging, blending melodic guitar pop with synths and the occasional saxophone. It’s sort of dance music played with guitars. The chap at the back with the keyboards, sequencer and sax is working particularly hard!
“Lion’s Den” sounds like early PJ Harvey and features Muñoz-Newsome bowing her guitar with a drumstick, producing a lovely squeal.
Pumarosa just sound bigger than they are. I can hear the stadium crowds when they play. “Priestess” really is such a sublimely brilliant pop song, and they get better at playing it every time I see them. I personally find this stage just a tad too big for this field, a tad too tall, and so a tad impersonal, but there’s absolutely no doubt that they need to be here. And they pull in their crowd over the hour. I wonder how far they can go?
Keep climbing guys. See you soon!