Album Reviews

Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Pronto Monto

Artist:     Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Album:     Pronto Monto

Label:     Omnivore

Release Date:     07/01/2016


It always seems that with the McGarrigle sisters some newly-formed concessions are made about their prescient approach to harmonies and kinsfolk platitudes – but why? Perhaps it’s because of how easily one can fall into the mythos of a record like the newly reissued Pronto Monto, rife with inexplicably silly tracks and a Van Dyke Parks approach to latitudinal alt-folk.

The 1978 record finally sees the light of day in the digital era, conclusively rounding out the time in between the sister’s unequivocally sound sophomore album to the “French Record,” as it was so lovingly revered. Pronto Monto seems to be making constant jabs at the balladeers and AM radio heroes of the time, with anachronistically sublime harmonies and saccharine strings that all but burst into a Copland-esque stockade around the lyrical wit.

On one hand, Pronto Monto is nearly overly parodic of the folk singer-songwriter scene at hand. Yet, somehow Kate and Anna seem so utterly convinced that it’s genuine sentimentality they’re displaying, just splayed over bombastic arrangements.

Alas, the reissue doesn’t provide any more context into this matter on the record, other than boasting some glossy liner notes and a jewel case. Pronto Monto in 2016 is just that – the record in the modern vernacular. A shame it took so long for the McGarrigle’s complete early years – here’s hoping a more comprehensive edition is in the near future.

– Jake Tully

Got something to say?