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Album Review: Mannequin Pussy – ‘Patience’

A spectacular manifestation of channeled trauma.

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Patience is a virtue. 

According to English Club, the phrase relays the “valuable quality” to “wait for something without getting angry or upset.” But Mannequin Pussy’s third album, Patience — released after a three-year hiatus — delivers heart-racing rage that screams “fuck you” to a wagging finger for an outburst of emotion.

Punk being a genre that generally attracts one crowd rather than most, lead singer Marisa Dabice (along with guitarist Athanasios Paul, bassist Colins Rey Regisford, and drummer Kaleen Reading) finesses her howls of pain and healing into tracks that entice.

To put it simply, it’s a feat unlike any other. 

Patience, teetering between foot-tapping soft rock ballads of heartbreak and proclamations of self-loathing and devastation through fits of screeching, is a work that shows the range and complexity surrounding the turmoil of a romantic relationship we’ve all unknowingly witnessed.

“Cream” focuses on the latter, with Dabice confronting the consequences that come with choosing to love over, and over, again: “I was standing in the gates of my hell / I was looking at myself like / Girl, what you did take a look at yourself right now / ‘Cause everything that you do, you do it for you / Gonna feel love I want it to be everything and unlearn to be like that / I know that I take and I take and I take.” Backed by explosive drum smashing and rapid chord strumming, the message is a spleen needing to be vented. 

If “Cream” is a flare-up of fury, then “Fear/+/Desire” is the comedown, followed by a train of reasoning. The picture becomes clearer, what we’re hearing (besides juxtaposing hard, electric riffs against acoustic guitars) is the story of a survivor struggling to cope with the abuse her significant other inflicted: “Is this what you wanted? Holding me down make you feel desire? / Leave my body ’til I can return . . . When you hit me, it does not feel like a kiss / And you’re touching me, my skin, it turns to mold. . . I was climbing into bed and pretended to sleep / Your hands wrap around me and I silently weep.”

Unlike the progressive steps of grieving, Mannequin Pussy falters between anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance with “Drunk I,” “High Horse,” and “F.U.C.A.W.” — a harrowing, unpredictable combination of sentiments that cannot be ordered. 

Patience is a spectacular manifestation of channeled trauma, the album capturing a repressed, hideous story needing to be told.

The second verse of “Fear/+/Desire” speaks to how Mannequin Pussy, and those sharing a similar experience, were unsure of when it could be told. “And I’m crying out, a story never told / I was hiding out.” It’s a line that brings back to light the appalling backlash Anita Hill received when revealing the sexual harassment she endured from soon-to-be Supreme Court judge Clarence Thomas, and the more recent confessions of Dr. Christine Balsey Ford against judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The album is of the #MeToo movement, started by Tarana Burke, which not only spread awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society, but provided a platform for survivors to share their story.

Mannequin Pussy has waited to share its story, and when the time came, Patience was birthed. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

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