Mannequin Pussy have never been predictable. One thing that can be pinned down, though, is that they’ve always liked to fuck around: whether it be with song titles (e.g. “Clit Eastwood,” “Meatslave 2,” “Pissdrinker”) or with reckless instrumentals with staticky screams (e.g. “Sneaky,” “Ten,” “Everything”).

So, when singles “Drunk II” and “Who You Are” were unveiled, previewing junior album Patience with charming, earnest vocals and pop instrumentals, the anticipation elevated. The best part is that, despite the suspicions of a tamer sound, they’re still as angry as ever.

The two singles did justice to the Philly four-piece’s glamorous expansion of their sound and persona. “Drunk II” sheds light on the band’s emotional side—the words are audible and intimate, like a conversation with a friend, “I’ve been going out almost every night / I’ve been drinking everything / I can get my hands on / I pretend I have fun.” It’s sung almost self-deprecatingly with a sense of comforting humor, especially when she admits, “I still love you, you stupid fuck,” a moment which is tear-jerking in an amazingly bittersweet way.

It’s palpable that when Marisa Dabice, aka Missy, wrote the song, she was, “very heartbroken, after I’d been out with friends trying to pretend like I wasn’t feeling so hopeless. I went home and just started playing guitar and crying, and stayed up working on [it] till about four in the morning.” Even as her rich vocals emanate a relatable embarrassment, the ache echoes all the lines, and the track becomes a whirlwind of emotions and nostalgia and regrets. 

“Who You Are” is similar in its honesty and introspection. The question “Oh, who taught you to hate the way you are?” is the most important piece in the chain of complications that exist within the song—looking in a mirror, and having to convince yourself that there’s nothing to “restart.” “You don’t have to change / You can stay the same” persists as the encouraging mantra fighting the feelings that come with the mirror.

For a band that’s exploded with hardcore jams for years on end, they’ve earned the right to hit us with poignant track about self-esteem without it feeling corny. “Fear/+/Desire” also feels refreshing with its slow tempo and silky vocals, singing an equally poignant tale, only on a different, but possibly related, subject: abusive relationships.

Once again, it’s a tearjerker, but there’s nothing bittersweet about it, it’s tragic. When Missy lulls, “When you hit me / It does not feel like a kiss, / Like the singers promised / A lie that was written for them,” it feels like a punch to the gut. It’s as beautiful as a poem, and it’s full of pain. The song is immediately followed by the clamorous “Drunk I,” with Missy screaming at the top of her lungs, “What kind of woman would you rather I be? / Docile and waiting to breed?” and it is liberating and righteous

. It feels necessary and perfect in the flow of the album, as it goes from vulnerable to explosive, akin to an actual emotion process. When Missy yells, “I’m more than flesh I’m more than love” on the tumultuous “F.U.C.A.W.,” it is cathartic and powerful.

Patience exists as a brilliant concoction of frustration, vulnerability, defeat, acceptance, and empowerment, and it manifests lyrically, vocally, and sonically. When Missy says she wrote a song crying in the middle of the night, it’s absolutely believable, and it feels like we’re beside her in that moment.

Its title of ‘Patience’ perfectly explains the album’s cycle of trying to move on from old turmoils and learning over time it takes patience to be able to grow. When it all closes with the lines, “Let’s see it through / I’m so happy / Laying here with you, / I’m in love with you” in “In Love Again, ” not everything is resolved, but things are starting to feel better.

Purchase the album here. 

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