Mark Prendergast’s new project Man Alive is a left-field step away from his international chart-conquering success with Kodaline.
Evident in his debut EP Colours, set for release on Sept 15, the track takes listeners through a whirlpool of emotions. “I was just like a kid in a candy shop when making this EP. When you’re in a band and you get it right, there’s a confidence that comes from a gang mentality, and that’s great, but this was the total opposite. Just the idea of going solo was a thrill, but the songs always came first and drove everything. Like everybody else in this world, you go through moments where you’re fucking great and you go through moments where you’re not. I suppose each song is just about a different kind of emotion, and that discovery of figuring out who you are and all that kind of craic,” says Prendergast.
The new single is a blissed-out Tame Impala-esque waltz, which sets sun-kissed psychedelia through the glittery prism of a disco ball, all with an undercurrent of sophisticated and orchestrated pop which sets the perfect ambience for lyrics that celebrate the purity of being in love.
It offers a very different approach from the spacious beauty of its lovelorn alt-folk predecessor and debut track Be Someone, which earned attention from the likes of NME, Clash and Hot Press, as well as a broad sweep of Irish airplay and nine global Spotify New Music Friday playlists. This contrast hints at the vast array of sonic touchpoints that Prendergast is drawing upon for Man Alive.
The postcard intimacy of Five Minute Drive offers “a place to park your broken heart” while another new song, Everytime I See Red, possesses a similar warmth, all richly textured vocal harmonies and dreamy acoustic pop. The EP’s closing track What Are The Chances finds the sweet spot between its anthemic, stadium-sized scope and a very personal touch, complete with the darker heart of lyrics such as, “I know I burned your neighbourhood to the ground.”
While Prendergast has always written songs for Kodaline, he has also composed and demoed other songs for pleasure. But then the one-two combo of a break-up and lockdown hit, and suddenly he was in the midst of a purple patch of inspiration. He had never even casually entertained the thought of becoming a singer, but the catalogue of songs he had written was just too personal to hand over to someone else.
To date, Man Alive have played just two shows: a raucous house party in which Prendergast’s band included Gavin James and members of Soft Launch, while his friend Aisling Bea guested as MC, and at a show at The Waiting Room in London.
Prendergast, accompanied by his Kodaline bandmates, is set to make his way to Southeast Asia in September, with performances scheduled in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
Pre-save the EPColours at found.ee/ManAlive-ColoursEP. Stream Colours at found.ee/ManAlive-Colours. Watch the music video at youtube.com/watch?v=GErgYmvy-ag&feature=youtu.be.