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Mattia Pironti’s “Don’t Stand a Chance”

Gliding into focus out of a sea of instrumental darkness, a faint melody wants us to come closer as Mattia Pironti’s “Don’t Stand a Chance” begins to play. There’s an ominousness to the tone of these first few bars, and yet the promise of what lies ahead in the track is too tempting for us to turn back now. As Pironti starts singing, it’s easy to detect the reticence in his vocal, which heavily contradicts the assertiveness of his words (though not enough to sour the mood). He’s got something on his mind, and whatever it is, he’s not going to stop until it’s out in the open for all to understand in this single.

A gentle beat starts to rise against the fraying ends of the melody, and as it evolves, so does the intensity in the vocal. The drums come to an abrupt stop as to give Pironti all of the spotlight in the chorus, but they return to the fold just as quickly as they left it only seconds later. We’re churning in a whirlpool of rhythm that is reminiscent of Alex Clare’s “Too Close,” though sans the explosive climax in the hook – in its place, there is only the fragile crooning of a Canadian vocal mastermind.

The rhythm in “Don’t Stand a Chance” never gets past much more than a rollicking gallop, but it’s a really swinging song just the same. There’s some much pent up energy in this track, so much unresolved frustration in the vocal that doesn’t ever find a complete release that, on paper at least, it would seemingly translate as being more of a dirge than it really is, but this isn’t true under the direction of Mattia Pironti. This is precision-detail pop with a layered narrative, and comparing it to the commercial nonsense you hear on the FM dial just wouldn’t be as fair as classifying it among the extraordinarily eclectic and rewarding content found in the contemporary pop underground.

Mattia Pironti brings “Don’t Stand a Chance” full-circle at the end of its 3:15 playing time by receding back into the darkness from which the song first sprung up, but this track’s conclusion isn’t lacking in cinematic chills – far from it. This is a single that I would tell any diehard Canadian indie disciple to take a peek at this season, and if the main purpose in releasing it now was to raise interest in Pironti’s debut album Mirror, it should be considered a true success on all fronts.

Mindy McCall

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