Mannequin Pussy keeps it short and occasionally sweet with Romantic - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Mannequin Pussy | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist

You wouldn’t expect an aggressive punk band like Mannequin Pussy to be romantic, and you especially wouldn’t believe it was the title of their new album, but you better star believing. Romantic is the follow-up to 2014’s Gypsy Pervert, and it’s a bold step forward for the Philadelphia DIY scene faves.

One of the first things you’ll notice about Romantic is how much they’ve upped the production value. Too often, punk bands stubbornly release lo-fi record after record under the false banner of authenticity, but what’s more authentic than hearing the instruments the way you’re supposed to? Is it corporate to have a massive, pummeling rhythm section? Is having a spacier, more balanced mix selling out? Of course not, and thankfully, Mannequin Pussy realize this without sacrificing their razor-sharp edge.

Another benefit of all the extra clarity is you can now hear Marisa Dabice’s blood-curdling scream in exquisite, excruciating detail. Like on GP, she’s still very, very upset, and this is made clear right from the get-go on opening track “Kiss.” The same goes for blistering songs like “Ten,” “Pledge” and “Meatslave One,” the prequel to GP’s “Meatslave II” and “Meatslave III.” But it’s not all barn-burners. The verses of the title track are serene and beautiful, and poppier moments like “Emotional High” almost sound happy. The album may only run 17 minutes, but Mannequin Pussy pack a lot more into than they did last time around. They’re starting to explore territory outside of the realm of “standard” punk music, and that’s a good thing.

Romantic is out October 28th, but you can listen to it below via NPR. Mannequin Pussy are currently on the road in support of the album, but you can catch them this December 4th when they headline Everybody Hits for a belated record release show. More information can be found here.

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