Album Review: Mannequin Pussy – Romantic

By Gabe Dooley, Contributor

[Tiny Engines; 2016]

Rating: 8.5/10

Key Tracks: “Romantic,” “Emotional High,” “Beside Yourself”

Romantic is the latest release from Philadelphia band Mannequin Pussy. Clocking in at 17 minutes, this record is bursting at the seams with emotion and wild expression. Much like similar pop-punk and hardcore projects, this album displays Mannequin Pussy’s ability to make the absolute most out of a two-minute song. The tracks on this record range in levels of aggression, seamlessly transitioning from smooth pop melodies to abrasive punk jams. Regardless of the tone of the album at a given moment, the album as a whole is as brutal as it is charming. With some tracks being more punk-oriented and others being more pop-oriented, the album finds a very nice balance that will leave listeners both satisfied and invigorated.

The lyrics on this project, despite their fierce and attention-grabbing delivery, often display a shy and lonesome personality, at times also expressing wild angst, frustration, and a desperate longing for love. These themes are expressed so elegantly on the track “Romantic,” and yet so abrasively on the following track “Ten.” These two songs in sequence can easily represent this album’s duality of tones just as well as its cohesion of ideas.

Mannequin Pussy’s poetic and bombastic performances are characterized by wildly chaotic cymbals over driving drumbeats. The screamed vocals pierce through a wall of dissonant and frantic guitar leads and voluminous bass riffs throughout their more punk tracks. The band’s softer and more melodic songs feature a charmingly energetic vocal delivery over a variety of slower, yet catchier, instrumentals. These slower moments help to showcase the technical talent of the band in a way that is easier to keep up with and also serve to help this album appeal to those working their way into this distinct style of music. A great highlight of this technique is the closing track “Beside Yourself,” which features some impressive vocal harmonies over a powerful, almost anthemic chord progression that’s so catchy, you’ll probably be disappointed when it ends after hardly a minute.

One of the only difficulties with this album is the fact that despite the amount of substance that the band managed to squeeze into 17 minutes, the length of the album still leaves the project somewhat underwhelming. This opinion will vary from listener to listener, but at least a few songs on this record could have been maintained at longer lengths, particularly the slower and catchier selections. Regardless, Romantic manages to be extremely admirable for its unique character and powerful voice, certainly worth plenty of listens.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s