Album of the Day: Mannequin Pussy, “Patience”

Mannequin Pussy’s third album, Patience, is a testament to how messy and imperfect self-discovery can be. “And everyone says to me, ‘Missy, you’re so strong!'” guitarist/vocalist Marisa Dabice sings at one point in the simmering standout “Drunk II,” her anguish manifesting via a snaky, distorted guitar solo. “But what if I don’t want to be?” Across their latest, the Philadelphia quartet sift through the emotional wreckage of a dissolved relationship. Narrators caution against self-loathing (the grungy ’90s throwback “Who You Are”), painfully recall an abusive relationship (the subdued “Fear /+/ Desire”), and lash out in frustration upon the bad behavior they had put up with (the roiling “Cream”).

Musically, Patience understandably corrals its fury into aggressive bursts, highlighted by the 38-second hardcore outburst “Clams” and bracing punk blast “F.U.C.A.W.” However, even the album’s dreamier pop tendencies are scuffed up by moments of turbulence. The delicate “High Horse” crests to its conclusion with guitars that crash like ocean waves, while the title track’s biting, gnarled riffs and sentiments (“Who told you that my body was yours to own?”) are sweetened by stacked harmonies and a sparse coda where Dabice sings the line, “I’ve got you in my blood” nearly a cappella.

But despite this turmoil and chaos, Mannequin Pussy end Patience on a wholly optimistic note, with the Throwing Muses-esque “In Love Again.” Dabice warmly hollers, “I’m so happy / Laying here with you / I’m in love with you,” and reminds us all that starting over is possible, even when things seem bleak.

-Annie Zaleski

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