Mannequin Pussy - Romantic (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Mannequin Pussy

Romantic (2016)

Tiny Engines


Mannequin Pussy are without a doubt one of the best kept secrets in punk. I touted Gypsy Pervert a couple years ago and I really thought it'd have caught more fire but nonetheless, Romantic continues their journey in fine form. But this time it's a record that wanders more fleshed-out and diverse territory with a bigger, angst-filled story to tell. There's something for punk fans, grunge fans and sludge-rock fans who just want to hear rock taken to abrasive, emotional levels and that inner-turmoil is something that emerges in spades under an incessant and chaotic batch of songs, taking the romantic term to a whole new level as it analyzes the romance of life more than with people themselves. 

From the hectic pace of opener "Kiss" to the slow, burning "Romantic" before exploding, you can instantly tell that this band follows no formula or set structure. Their last record held a Bikini Kill influence but now, it's angrier, louder and for the most part, thrashier. It's a cathartic 17 minute trip of vocalist, Marisa Dabice, unleashing her wrath on the world. Further exemplified by the garage-punk bangers -- "Ten" and "Everything" -- and what appears to be a tribute to Hole off "Emotional High". The guitars are even more frenzied and urgent this time around as opposed to the last record which still gave you some time to breathe. But here, well, relentless is definitely the name of the game. Everything feels wrapped in anxiety and through these dissonant melodies, you feel the brunt of everything weighing down on Dabice -- all packed into one and two minute bursts where she splits wigs on families, lovers and the state of women and their treatment in society. Fans who came for the jangly indie tunes like myself would also be done great service off songs like "Denial" which really highlight that when it comes to having a voice, maybe more than one's better. The way that MP mix this in with the volatility, aggression and madness that is Romantic is something that you really need to experience to understand. Fucking brutal.