Mannequin Pussy Patience

Mannequin Pussy Patience
8
Since she picked up a guitar, music has been a form of therapy for Marisa Dabice. On her third album as leader of Philadelphia group Mannequin Pussy, she reaches into the darkest depths of herself and pulls out something raw, bloody and broken.
 
The Philadelphia band's Epitaph debut is an unflinching account of pain, heartbreak and the inner turmoil that follows the sudden severing of a relationship. Patience captures the simultaneous confusion and clarity that comes with the healing process, and delivers it with such unrelenting intensity that it makes a breakup — something that happens all the time, and to just about everyone — seem like the worst thing that could ever happen. And of course, in the moment, it so often feels like it is.
 
A record with a tighter vision, but just as much frenetic energy as Mannequin Pussy's previous work, Patience imbues both its highs and lows with a constant sense of intense strain and desperation. Dabice sounds like she's on her last nerve, on the brink of coming undone — that is, when she's not screaming at the top of her lungs.
 
"Drunk II" is the catchy, poppy single to rope in new fans: a midtempo emo jam reminiscent of Title Fight's Floral Green or Tigers Jaw's Charmer (call it the Will Yip sound, as they all share the same producer) that stumbles through the drunk, bleary nights following a romantic split. "Cream" lets out a whirlwind of fury, including the most disdainful take on a Bryan Adams line to be found in recorded music. That's followed by the lilting, moderately paced "Fear/+/Desire," then the swirling, 54-second tempest of "Drunk I."
 
After that, "High Horse" revs up and threatens to roar, but holds back and lets the tension hang as Dabice details unsettling scenes from an abusive relationship. The upbeat "Who You Are" gives the record an unexpected dose of pep, which is then immediately followed by "Clams," a full-blown beatdown that brings their hardcore punk roots to the forefront, and "F.U.C.A.W.," which is filled with pure loathing and hostility and hits harder than anything you'll hear outside the metal idiom. It can all be a tad jarring and definitely hard to predict, but human behaviour in heartbreak often is.
 
It's as if these songs and the life they portray are filled with such chaos and unrest that there's a strange comfort to be found in the image of the Earth on fire, as is depicted on the cover of Patience — at least it's not just your own world that's gone up in flames. In sudden separation, the mind can get preoccupied with putting out that fire and wishing the worst upon the person who lit it. But by the time Mannequin Pussy reach the finale, "In Love Again," the dust seems to have settled; the heart mends and allows itself to open again. After a bitter loss, Patience is a triumph. (Epitaph)