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Mannequin Pussy: Patience

Mannequin Pussy: Patience

Mannequin Pussy shows the complexities of the ties that bind us to each other and ourselves.

Mannequin Pussy: Patience

3.5 / 5

Patience is about relationships, both good and bad. Mannequin Pussy’s third album finds the Philly punks diving deeper into not just matters of romance and friendships, but also self-reflection. Tackling the personal from several angles, the group get their points across powerfully and directly in less than half an hour. This album is a meteor falling through the atmosphere, bright, fiery and intense.

The album art for Patience, of a globe lit aflame, makes the record seem more political than personal at first glance. But that consuming burn comes from a relationship that Marisa Dabice tries to escape in “High Horse.” “Your world’s on fire, as I watch up from my high horse/ Your world’s on fire, and I walk away,” she sings as the music slowly builds, eventually erupting.

Noxious relationships come to the forefront a few times on Patience, with the band conjuring different moods for each song. On the title track, Dabice and Athanasios Paul jump forward with scratchy, nervous guitars, as Dabice sings, “Who told you that my body was yours to own?” “Fear/+/Desire” is filled with fuzzy guitar work and an emotional vocal performance about abuse: “I was climbing into bed and pretended to sleep/ Your hands wrap around me and I silently weep.” It’s one of the most harrowing tracks on the record.

Sometimes though, a relationship falls apart without it being destructive. Dabice went through a rough breakup leading into this album, which comes through on the standout “Drunk II.” She sings about the pressure to be “so strong” all the time, even as her romance crumbles, and finds relief in losing control through alcohol. A fantastic, straightforward rock riff is an instant attention grabber. When joined with Dabice’s excellent vocal performance and a cool guitar solo, it stands as one of the band’s best songs yet. But if “Drunk II” is about finding relief, “Drunk I” is pure destructive rage, blitzed out in less than a minute.

Mannequin Pussy don’t completely ignore the outside world though, targeting their fury towards some of the worst problems of society: greed and toxic masculinity. “Clams” is even shorter and more furious than “Drunk I,” its call-and-response vocals screaming against the wealth gap with lines like “We’ll give you less and you’ll learn to like it.” On “F.U.C.A.W.,” Dabice castigates the cocky ego of men who step on others to succeed, shouting out “Break necks ’til you get what you wanted.”
Among the strongest songs on Patience are those where Dabice tries to lift up positive relationships, both with others and herself. The upbeat pop-punk of “Who You Are” looks at self-love, even when aspects of society encourage self-loathing. It’s about giving support for someone else to plant their feet and embrace who they are. While it was inspired by a friend’s self-hating tendencies, the song is universal and inspiring to anyone who needs it.

To close, Dabice takes another chance on love, despite the heartbreak she’s suffered. “In Love Again” brings forward all the feelings of a new romance, first with fear (“Share a drink, a look, a kiss/ Oh no, it’s startin’ again”), then with serene joy (“I’m so happy layin’ here with you/ I’m in love with you”). A fun, extended rock jam then plays out, almost like the band doesn’t want the feeling to end.

Through these 10 songs, Mannequin Pussy shows the complexities of the ties that bind us to each other and ourselves, and offers a way forward for every scenario. Dabice has spoken in interviews about how so much of relationships are built around patience. When it comes to those who abuse trust or are harmful to your own well-being, you should have none. But for loved ones and most of all, for yourself, bring forth all the patience in the world.

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