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Mannequin Pussy gets Romantic on New Album

Picture of mannequin pussy by Scott Troyan

Picture by Scott Troyan

Frustrated feminists need more Mannequin Pussy in their life right now. The Philadelphia-based band released their sophomore album Romantic through bandcamp on Oct. 28, with pay-as-you-wish proceeds going towards Planned Parenthood until the end of 2016.

While Romantic is about the turmoil of breakup, it can still serve to heal the broken hearts of those in anguish after this election. As a healthier alternative to participating in fights with relatives on Facebook or over dinner, listeners can scream along with singer Marisa Dabice to lyrics like “Stop taking this shit out on me,” and “I’M IN HELL.”

Picture of Mannequin Pussy

Mannequin Pussy

For Dabice, Romantic is meant to inspire both catharsis and hope for its listeners. “It's an album that examines the stages of grief that has been our cathartic release and has given us hope for the future.”

Mannequin Pussy’s label, Tiny Engines, proclaims the album, “all killer, no filler,” with just 17 minutes of dark, manic mood swings. The record starts out hard, fast, and angry with “Kiss,” but with each following track Mannequin Pussy, switches abruptly between intense punk rock rage and breezy, almost beachy pop jams. Romantic is poppiest half way through at its sixth track, “Denial,” and most intense at its seventh, “Everything.” The most relaxed tracks, “Romantic,” “Emotional High,” and “Denial” echo the drowsy sad girl style of pop-rocker Best Coast.

Amid the rest of the album’s thrashing, Dabice brings listeners back to the panicky feeling of losing oneself in a breakup. “Denial” includes some of the album’s most profound lyrics with lines like “I want to feel the earth, its crushingness / As it wraps around my neck.” Perhaps the most powerful, yet simple, moment in Romance is Dabice crooning:

Pick yourself up, baby

Everything's gonna be fine

But if not, so what?

You'll get it the next time

You should stop getting down on yourself every day

It's ok to fall apart when you feel so crazy.

Dabice’s voice is haunting, but she isn’t the only one carrying the album. Romantic premiers Kaleen Reading on drums and Colins Regisford on bass to accompany founders Dabice and guitarist Thanasi Paul.

For Dabice, Romantic is meant to inspire both catharsis and hope for its listeners.

Dabice and Paul formed Mannequin Pussy as childhood friends, with Dabice singing and songwriting and Paul on drums. Their first demos were hard, short, energetic fits, but by their 2014 premier LP Gypsy Pervert, the band had matured. Paul picked up guitar and Dabice’s voice became more distinguishable, her lyrics shone in tracks like “Clue Juice.”

Romantic is Mannequin Pussy in their final form. Each track now utilizes the brilliancies of every member, giving them their most well-rounded sound thus far. The quartet goes all in on the last track, combining their voices to form a haunting choir against pounding instrumentals for “Beside Yourself.”

Those in the throes of political or personal angst can get more Mannequin Pussy when the band hits the road at the start of 2017 for a U.S. tour with Joyce Manor & AJJ (previously known as Andrew Jackson Jihad).