From the opening notes of what proved to be the best punk record of 2019, Mannequin Pussy's Patience immediately establishes itself as the mission statement of a band that's not worried about burning everything to the ground.
The fact that the album cover shows a globe on fire just drives the point home even further.
Patience is the Philadelphia punk quartet's third LP and its first for the storied independent label Epitaph. The record follows 2014's GP and 2016's Romantic, both of which earned the band traction among critics before Patience rocketed the group to the forefront of the contemporary American punk scene.
Mannequin Pussy's notoriety begins with its provocative name, which conjures memories of the antagonistic punk bands of old. It's a name that makes you feel like you should clear your search history after looking up the band’s music, and serves as an initial litmus test to determine whether listeners will be able to handle the group's sense of humor.
Though the name is objectively funny and undeniably punk, it can be difficult to comfortably utter in conversation. (Peronsally, I opted for the timeless "Don’t worry about it" when a family member asked about what show I planned to attend later this week.)
Though some people might find the band’s name off-putting, it shouldn’t prevent listeners from taking the time to spin Patience. The album deftly balances hooky guitar riffs, emotional depth, and the rich tradition of rage filtered through punk principles in a way no other records matched this year.
The record juxtaposes breakneck brutality (see "Clams," a 38-second atomic explosion of true hardcore animosity) with earnest and brokenhearted tracks about romance (See "Fear/+/Desire" and "In Love Again") and sometimes even pulls off both at the same time (see “Drunk II,” which features the lyric “I still love you, you stupid fuck” in a way that somehow avoids sounding contrived).
For all of the renegade ferociousness in the group’s repertoire, Patience embraces pop sensibilities in a way that previous Mannequin Pussy releases had avoided. Tracks such as "Who You Are" feature eminently catchy choruses before retreating into welcome racetrack-speed punk outros, and "Drunk II" is a legitimate contender for song of the year.
Frontwoman Marisa Dabice’s aching vocals and honest lyrics set the band apart from the rest of a crowded and often overly masculine punk field, and does so within songs that are so soundly constructed you start believing the band could thrive in nearly any genre of choice.
Mannequin Pussy has quickly emerged as one of the best American rock bands touring and recording today, and Miamians would be foolish to skip out on the group when it swings by Gramps this Thursday, December 12. Even though the juvenile name might demand some — wait for it — patience, it's not a reason to miss seeing the band responsible for what stands to be one of 2019's most enduring records.